Fashion and colour are the core of its DNA. Of the third generation of the Missoni family, niece of Ottavio and Rosita, Margherita Maccapani Missoni has breathed fashion since childhood. "Dresses, models, seamstresses, and fashion shows have always been part of my life, of my first memories," says the designer from her stylish office. Creative Director of M Missoni, rib of the family brand, Margherita has created a new aesthetic, which continuously explores new territories and speaks a multigenerational language. The secret? Reuse, recombine, respect. In other words - giving a second life. So, in her creative universe, scarves have become clothes and cutouts of pullover fabrics turn into coats. A mix and match of garments and combinations that moves smoothly without any limit of age, gender, or shape.
Fashion has always been your passion. Is it true that you had already imagined yourself in this world as a child?
Fashion has always been there. I was not aware that it was fashion as we understand it, but dresses, models, seamstresses, and fashion shows have always been part of my life, of my first memories. Fashion was a reality, like school, strawberries, and snow. I was not aware of the fact that it was a glamorous world, part of a collective imagination; for me it was primarily the work of the mother, the father, the grandparents, the uncles, and a good part of those around me, and then the paradise of any little girl - therefore also mine - dressing, changing, dressing the dolls, dressing the models, making handbags with scraps of fabrics, posing, getting my make-up done were my daily games after leaving kindergarten and passing my afternoons in the atelier. Fashion did not come out of nowhere, there has always been an almost essential condition for me to become the person I am today.
For the last two years you have been the creative director of M Missoni. What characteristics did you want to bring to the brand?
When I was asked to reinvent and give the line a new purpose, I reflected a lot on what M Missoni expressed and where I wanted it to go. I made the decision that this brand would be a new Missoni world and no longer a mere copy at a lower price. The M is certainly a small piece of the Missoni DNA, a sincere fragment that has the right to tell new stories and give new interpretations. I completely re-designed the identity of M Missoni with a particular eye on ethics and sustainability. It would have been inconceivable nowadays to create a new brand without taking into account sustainability and social responsibility.
How does your creative process work? What is your starting point when you work on a new collection?
Everything starts from the "RE": re particle as in reiteration, as in giving a second life, re-proposing and redesigning. M Missoni plays with authorised appropriation, using the Missoni archive as a hidden treasure. Missoni codes are turned upside down and transformed, experimenting with small pieces that are recycled and reused. For example, an old ADV of a Missoni perfume becomes the print of an M Missoni t-shirt, or Missoni Home fabrics are reused for a capsule collection. We always start from a small Missoni element which we then turn upside down and stratify to get something new and fresh, but intrinsic to a narration of the brand's past.
Where do you get inspiration?
The inspiration certainly comes from the Missoni archives, whether it is a recycled yarn, a print that has never become iconic or a logo that has never been used. I think M is like the B side of a vinyl, we are always looking for the lost fragments of the Missoni story and every time we come across exciting discoveries. Archival work is certainly fundamental for the development of our collections.
Are there recurring characteristics within the collections?
The main feature is the non-seasonality of the garments, but more complete collections are designed to be drop-presented. The recurring motif in our collections is certainly the daisy which is developed in different ways throughout the collections: as an accessory, for example, as a necklace with an ornamental motif on a sweater.
M Missioni has a strong green vocation. Can you explain better how this sensitivity translates into your work?
Sustainability is part of our aesthetic: starting from the research of fabrics to be recycled to that of suppliers, passing through the choice of our partners for collaborations, up to the virtual community we are building. The M Missoni world revolves around sustainability even if we cannot say we are a 100% sustainable brand, we try every day to improve and move in that direction.
You are also busy on the charity front. What projects are you embracing?
We certainly have an ethical commitment and we pay close attention to the choice of partners with whom we decide to work. For example, the shoes in the collection are produced in collaboration with the Ethiopian footwear brand, Sawa. An activist project that is committed to creating added value in Africa by providing them with great support. We have values within the brand that we want to communicate because we believe that people can associate with our values and not only through aesthetics.
Fashion is changing its course and it aims to overcome the concept of seasonality and the limits of gender for the collections. What do you think about it?
I always thought that the concept of seasonality and gender limits for the collections no longer reflected the wishes and needs of consumers. Unisex garments and months characterise the releases of the M Missoni collections, no pre-established concept of seasonality or gender. It is a concept that I tried to express from the beginning, but that did not fully reflect the commercial side. Now, after Covid-19, everything is being rethought and I see this as a positive opportunity.
What are the challenges of post Covid-19 fashion?
I hope this epidemic may be the trigger for changes that have long been necessary in the fashion system. Although it was a very difficult time for companies and people, I believe that, before this happened, we were going too far, too fast in certain directions. One of the post-Covid-19 challenges will certainly be to realign consumer needs with production, a calendar that respects everyone's times.