The iconic Creative Director of Missoni, Angela Missoni, was joined by SVP and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing, on Tuesday, November 7 for a meet-and-greet and conversation at Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue about Angela Missoni’s 20 years in her role in her family’s business.
Missoni, who is known for modernizing and globalizing her family’s iconic Italian fashion label, celebrated her 20th anniversary as Creative Director, as the brand is celebrating its 64th year.
ChicagoMOD spoke exclusively with the fashion icon on how she sees her brand evolving, what sets Missoni apart and how Neiman Marcus has played a crucial role in the global development of the brand.
ChicagoMOD: Congratulations on your 20th anniversary. How have you seen the brand evolve since you’ve been a part of Missoni?
Angela Missoni: I think I am surprised myself how the brand, with such a long history, actually [has] one of the longest histories in fashion and with many points of trends through 64 years. I was there for the past 20, which means everything you know about Missoni is me.I sometimes do think it’s a miracle, and I think my parents really did an invention in fashion and really invented the style, which is a language. They managed to maintain the vocabulary of this language. They have never needed to go in the archives. I remember every detail, but I’ve never looked back even though I’m very attached to my roots. I’m only looking forward. Maybe that’s how I manage to do it. There’s no recipe, no secret.
CM: Did you ever feel pressured to get into the family business?
AM: No absolutely not. I never felt pressured at the time, and I don’t feel pressure now. Mabye I’m feeling more pressure now that I have to stay, than at the time [when I started]. I just had the urge of doing something and [design something] my girlfriends wanted to wear. It was totally organic because my parents never put pressure on me or any of us. We were brought up with a lot of freedom and a lot of trust, and I think that’s why we all came back to the business. My father would say, ‘If it wasn’t for you, I would have sold.’ My mother is more of a natural builder, she builds, and I think I have the same nature. I always felt from the beginning that I was fixing. Already when I got the role of Creative Director, the company was 44 years old, which is a very old company. I have had many moments in my 20 years already, where I said, where am I going? Do I have something to say in fashion? Am I relaxing? When you are in a small company–and we are in a small company, we’re artisanal–you cover many aspects. I’m a problem solver. It’s keeping your eyes open and never lean on your pants, never lean on what you’ve done.
CM: What is Missoni’s relationship with Neiman Marcus like?
AM: It’s one of the longer histories that Neiman Marcus has had in fashion. I think we started selling to Neiman Marcus in 1970 or 1971, and Missoni [received] the Neiman Marcus award in 1973. We have been in Neiman Marcus since then. I don’t think there’s any other label that was in from that day until now. It’s very exciting to have such a long relationship!
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Photo Credit: Sebastian Biedron