Designer, brand ambassador and third-generation member of the Missoni fashion empire, Margherita Missoni takes the reigns of the diffusion line as it comes in-house
- Who is it? M Missoni, the casual diffusion line of mother brand Missoni, which has been brought in-house for the first time in its 30-year history
- Why do I want it? Now under the creative direction of Margherita Missoni, it offers a wry, contemporary take on the empire’s impressive archive
- Where can I find it? Pre-order is available now at M Missoni while an exclusive capsule collection will drop at Matchesfashion.com in November
Who is it? Designer and third generation of the Missoni fashion empire Margherita Missoni helms the relaunch of M Missoni – the casualwear diffusion line brought in-house for the first time since its inception in 1988. “It was a younger, less expensive version of Missoni and it was a great commercial success for us,” Margherita explains on the phone from her countryside HQ in Varese, just a little north of Milan. “But, as often happens with licenses, it diluted the Missoni aesthetic and stole the market from the mainline because, in the end, it didn’t have its own separate identity – it was essentially just a cheaper version of Missoni.”
Inevitably it wasn’t an exciting proposition to the brand ambassador, campaign model and mother of two who has headed up the mainline’s accessories since 2010. “But when I realised that I had a chance to find my own way for M to exist, I found it a great challenge. It was by no means an easy task: I dug into the house archives and really researched – not only the clothing but press clips, campaigns, colours and all sorts. What struck me was that when Missoni got started, the vocabulary and aesthetic was much broader than what is recognised as iconic Missoni today – essentially what we did in the 60s and 70s.”
Missoni grew up immersed in style, in the awesome presence of her grandparents’ business, devised “to create a chic wardrobe that could take you from morning to evening without the need for changing”. Her summers were spent at their home, surrounded by fabric samples and colour swatches and the comings and goings of fashion royalty like Italian writer and style icon Anna Piaggi and former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld. Flea market scouring was an essential group bonding activity. For Margherita Missoni, style has always felt like a natural part of her habitat, ingrained in the everyday. And it’s this aesthetic upbringing that the designer brings to revamp this little-sister brand, starting with the label’s first Milan presentation yesterday – with models hopping on and off an audience-packed cable car as it traverses the city; a bar milling with models and a souvenir kiosk selling crocheted iPhone cases and M-branded stadium scarves. “I want to bring the unpretentiousness and lightness back into fashion,” the fashion heiress explains.
Why do I want it? ‘Re-use, remix, and respect’ are the cornerstones of the label’s new chapter. Old fragrance ads have been pillaged for clothing prints, old logos have had the ‘issoni’ scratched off, archive prints have been rewritten with a contemporary twist, an old washing machine collab has been unearthed for self-deprecatingly humorous posters, the label’s tried and trusty patchwork has been reimagined in new prints – the effortless allure of the Italian brand, and its now world-famous artisanal expertise, is hitherto rewritten for multiple generations today.
“I do want this to be aimed at younger people in that I want them to know what Missoni stands for: not just a zigzag but a way of living,” Missoni explains of her new audience. “But I’m very happy that my grandmother made an order and is going to wear it to the show too. There really are no age restrictions.”
The intention then is to engage both those familiar and unfamiliar with the house’s heritage. Those that will enjoy Instagram-worthy throwbacks to 90s campaigns and homeware catalogues that they’ll never have seen before – and presumably those too that will remember them first hand. As such, a selection of coats and jackets made from Missoni Home fabrics will form a capsule collection exclusively sold at Matchesfashion.com this November, while the label’s own handmade yarns have been upcycled into sweaters of limited runs and colourways, returning the formerly saturated diffusion line to a sense of small-batch covetability.