Missoni Takes The Academy

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.03.27 PM

One of the amazing perks of attending the Academy of Art University is you get to attend the schools Fashion Symposium every year. This year the honored guests were not only three generations of the Missoni family, but also the fabulous Suzy Menkes. The Academy’s Executive Fashion Director Gladys Perint Palmer (Look her up, her work is to die for.) along with Suzy Menkes (Ex-editor of International Harold Tribune and new Editor of International Vogue) sat down to interview the famous Missoni family right before our excited eyes. (From left to right: Gladys Perint Palmer,Margherita Missoni, Rosita Missoni, Angela Missoni and Suzy Menkes.)

The illustrious family stepped out onto the stage and were greeted by a room chalk filled with eager fashion lovers with their ears tuned in tight. The matriarch of the family and founder of Missoni, Rosita walked out in black pants, espadrilles, a graphic tee, orange stripped sweater, teal and orange scarf and a white chain link necklace. Behind her was her daughter Angela who now runs Missoni wearing all black, a classic Missoni coat and what looked like a rosary necklace with a shell at the bottom. Last but not least was the future of the brand, Margherita wearing white wide leg trousers with sheer panelling, a blue zig zag ruffled crop top and printed loafers. The family in all was the essence of their relaxed yet sophisticated brands style.

They started the discussion in at the beginning, Rosita had just married her athlete husband and in the early 1960’s they started making knitted track suits out of the basement of their apartment. Any opportunity that came their way, the accepted. The 100 square meter basement soon became the home Missoni and to the six workers making garments. Rosita told us stories of her late husband mentioning they had been married 60 years which received a loud applause from the hopeless romantics in the audience before adding “It was quite a lifetime.”

The family began telling jokes and laughing with each other like any other family would do at say a dinner party, laughing about how Rosita would cook food for all their employees and how the youngest Margherita can’t cook at all. When Margarita was asked why she returned to the company after living here in the States for five years she simply stated ” We have a strong scenes of belonging. Rosita gave up a lot and it’s such a strong scenes of belonging. We own our own factory which is rare and it keeps our family together.” Her mother Angela then told us what Margherita told her; “I love this family and I want to take care of this company.”

One of the funniest aspects of the symposium was when Gladys asked the women if they ever fight. Rosita was quick as a whip with her answer of “fight is life. It’s a language I use.” Margherita then added “I slammed a glass door that had been their 40 years and shattered it.” Her Mother Angela began laughing and admitted “I slammed the same door in the 70’s, the door she shattered was the replacement of the one I shattered.”

Angela+Missoni+Rosita+Missoni+Missoni+Target+eD9_VOAoxmXl

They then opened the floor for students to ask questions:

Student– “You faced many challenges. With the limitations of color and pattern how do you keep your identity?”

Margherita– “We live on the edge, everyday is a new day.”

Angela– “It comes from a continuous renewal. I have a very precise memory of every line since I was five years old, but I never visit the archives. I just go on, I never look back.”

Student– “How does the Missoni woman relate to the American Woman?”

Margherita– “A very laid back and chilled image that came from my Grandma and Grandpas lives. Americans and San Franciscans can relate.”

Suzy– “Do you still sit there and enjoy picking colors?”

Angela– “Technology brings us a faster way of doing it… What we do know wouldn’t have been possible 15 years ago.”

Suzy– “You’ve embraced it, but it still comes from your head?”

Angela– “Absolutely! In the 70’s designers had to travel for 20 days to find inspiration, now we have the internet.”

Student– “What are the greatest obstacles facing us today?”

Margarita- “So much competition. There is more supply than demand and if you aren’t different the world will eat you up.”

Student– “What is the essential Missoni garment for any woman?”

Margherita– “A patchwork sweater.”

Angela– “A zig zag bathing suit.”

Suzy– “There is something for everyone.”