The Fashion Folk S01 ep11 : Vittorio Missoni, Missoni Fashion, [Milian]
Interview with Vittorio Missoni
An artist in a certain way can work when he has a feeling, fashion designers every day you have to show your collection, every day you have appointment with your customers and you cannot leave the market and wait and say o.k. for 6 months I stay out and then I come back. You cannot do this, so really it is very important to be also an entrepreneur.
The story of Missoni started with my parents in the 50's. The two together and
the love of my mother and the pleasure of her knitting and using fabrics and
yarns and colour of my father - they mixed.
My father he was an athlete, he was in the Italian Olympic Team, he was
running the 400 hurdles and actually he met my mother in London. He was
there for the Olympic Games in 1948 and my mother, she was in college in
London at the time, and she went to see the Italian team and they met the
Italian runners, athletes, and they met each other
KM: that is how it started.
… And then they met again in Milan.
My father, he was at the end of his career, with a friend they started a little
company of active wear. Today we have all this active fabric and special fabric
and super tech, high tech fabrics but at that time even the bathing suits were
made of wool. He was trying to do a job in wool, knitted, very light in jersey
(you know what you call jersey)
KM: Yes, yes, yes
And when he met my mother and she had this kind of culture more fashion
oriented and with the machine they had they started to make some knit wear.
In the middle of the 60's till the end of the 60's there was a big revolution in
everything, and the fashion world was changing from the couture and there
was not like what we call ready to wear of today - did not exist. They started
to do these things in the 60's they are born with the ready to wear, they made
things with colour, and people said they were crazy using so much colour.
They had an exhibition in Florence around all the famous courtiers of that time
and they show up a beautiful girl in a Missoni colour and transparent little dress
and they year after they did that they did not accept their inclusion into the Pitti
and it was a scandal. And they say no you are out from Florence, you will
never be back again.
The year after they decided. to show the collection in Milano
And in the same time other new designers that are today big names you know
were starting to make their lines in Milano like little courtier too.
KM: Who were the names back then.
Well, Giorgio Armani, who was designing for some companies, Versace had a
boutique with his mother
And she used to buy Missoni and this is the way that the Milano fashion world
At that time the McQueen and Galliano used to be Missioni, Crizia and there
was a lot of new talent, like Ken Scott, Pucci ….Valentino was starting too, he
was a young designer.
We used to have a showroom in Paris and not in Milan at that time because
the French customers were coming to look what was happening and the
English shops you know, where the fashion was more exciting at that time,
they used to come to see what the Italian's were doing.
Sometimes they say Missoni is copying the Indians from America. My father
used to say that in the South American Andes they used to copy Missoni 2000
years ago. So it’s important to understand the culture and the feeling of
dressing and you travel to get ideas and on the other side to understand what
Some people say that oh it is easy to copy Missoni, you just put colour. I can
tell you for sure that it would be a very bad copy, because the experience and
the taste we have put in which takes years and years of culture. Then you
don't have to look at everything together, you have to look at a single piece.
You have to take a single piece and look at it by itself and forget all of what is
We have to offer a product and understand where the market goes with colour
and try to help with our product or to go and follow with our colour but working
with our personality. And also we work on fabric and material, and then the
line, the line has to be fashionable and modern, it doesn't have to be trendy.
When the colour in the fashion world comes back, this is our moment. When
the fashion world goes to grey, grey and super grey we are the eternity.
KM: You are not the only person who has said this.
KM Is this business art or is it design?
My father was a very good friend of Balteuse - they admired each other.
Balteuse gave to my father his palace as a present because he loved the job
of my father. He said he had the sensibility of an artist but he uses his
sensibility to the service of a company.
An artist in a certain way can work when he has a feeling. As Fashion
designers you have to show your collection. Every day you have appointments
with your customers and you cannot leave the market and wait and say for 6
months I stay out and then I come back. You cannot do this so really it is very
important to be a good entrepreneur.
The problem with designers is that all of the collection is part of your family
KM: All are your children.
They are all your children exactly. It is funny when I speak with my mother and
my sisters sometimes and I tell them, well this is the best seller, and she
should be incredibly happy, and this is not. But when she asks this is the best
seller, and this is not. She says “Why not this”!
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Vittorio Missoni, Missoni Fashion, Milian