Loungewear

Rosita on Angela.
My family has been making loungewear, pyjamas and embroidered fabrics since the 1920s. My husband, Tai, by chance had been a knitter – he was a track and field champion and his family made active sportswear in the 1940s – so it was always in our DNA. When we married in 1953, I knew that I wanted to do fashion. In 1958 we had our first success of an order of 500 shift dresses, in charcoal with an orange stripe, and in brown and beige with a purple stripe. It was very bold for that time. This was the year in which Angela was born. Our first atelier was 100 square metres on the bottom floor of our studio apartment – she grew up with two older brothers, Luca and Vittorio, and the factory was their playground. They played with the hanks, the trolleys, the yarns.

Angela was always very strong; more independent than her brothers. She loved to be glamorous; for Christmas aged four she asked for a beauty case, and my sisters gave her lipstick and rouge, and she came to Christmas dinner all made up. My grandparents were horrified. She started to look after the accessories in 1992, but she was always pregnant! One day she decided to prove to herself that she could handle a whole collection, so she produced an Angela Missoni line in the factory. There were no stripes, no patterns, just solid colours. It was good. After two years and four seasons, I told her I felt tired. She said she felt ready to take over [the creative direction] and the change was automatic. She was young, she had strength, the factory workers loved her, and there was nothing to explain because she knows how to produce a collection. It was the story of her life. We are very different – she is like a lioness, she is so protective of her children – but she keeps the family together. She is a mother hen.

Our parents

GIOVANNA AND SARA BATTAGLIA

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One is a fashion stylist, the other a handbag designer, but neither sister holds back when it comes to critiquing the other’s work. Interviews by Phong Luu.
Giovanna, 33, on Sara, 28
Our parents are painters. Our older brother, Antonio, owns an art gallery, and our younger brother, Luigi, is a designer – not one of us has a normal job. Sara always wanted to be a designer – you should see some of her sketches when she was five years old. We were both very artistic; we used to dress up our Barbies and even used our brother as a model! I wanted to be a stylist; back then it wasn’t a popular job. I got my lucky break by first modelling for Dolce & Gabbana – they called me their muse – and later styling.

When I’m shooting, I sometimes send Sara a picture, because I want to know what she thinks. And she’ll tell it straight. I’m the same. When she asks for my advice, I joke, ‘You know, some people pay me for this, and I’m giving it to you for free!’ I’m more fashion-forward than Sara. There have been times when she’s said, ‘Look at that horrible pair of shoes,’ and I’m like, ‘But they are so cool!’ I am given a lot of handbags; I shouldn’t say this, but I secretly carry her bags. When we were 16 we were terrible. I remember I once threw a suitcase out of the first floor after we had an argument – I could have killed her. But our mother said, ‘You can kill each other one day, but the next day you must be friends.’ We still argue now, but after two minutes we make up. We love each other; there’s just something about sisters.