This is a love story. This is the story of how my soul mate and I finally came together after years of struggle. This is the story of Missoni and me.
I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. My immigrant parents are italophiles who brought my siblings and I back to Italy every summer. We’d spend two months on the Argentario, the Amalfi Coast, the Italian Riviera. We’d listen to Lucio Battisti and Claudio Baglioni singing about summer love affairs at the seaside. I would see women on the lungomare in cork sandals, billowing kaftans and headscarves, bright colours in squiggles, zigzags and stripes evoking the bliss and freedom of summertime. These were the prints of Missoni, bold colours and patterns that spoke to Italy’s new-found place in modern Europe, an Italy still reveling in the prosperity of its miracle decade, the pains of the Euro yet years away.
When I became conscious of fashion years later, I coveted Missoni. Its multicoloured prints spoke to me like no other, and I yearned to pile print on print on print. I promised myself that when I “grew up”, I would wear only Missoni. The problem was, of course, the price. Missoni’s knits (and we are talking Missoni, not M Missoni, or Missoni for Target, or any other unfortunate lapse into democratic fashion, though Mare is fair game) come at a pretty penny. As a result, I was all grown-up (or so they keep telling me) and didn’t have ONE Missoni piece. Like other premier designer labels, Missoni just seemed so unattainable.
That is, until last November. In the brief valley between Fall and Resort collections, I experienced a revelation. Here I was. 26 years old, certainly trendy but not fashionable. I have some amazing accessories and several great pairs of shoes, but a Chanel bag doesn’t make you Anna Dello Russo. Far from it. Moreover, I found myself very much caught up in trends. Coloured jeans Fall 2011? Check. Jumpsuit and marine stripes summer 2009? Check. Leopard print Cruise 2011/2012? Check. It suddenly occurred to me that I was spending so much money on so many pieces that I would inevitably shy away from the next season. My wardrobe wasn’t getting bigger or better with all the money I was spending. Instead, I had to start from scratch, essentially, every new season.
I decided that I wanted to make the transition into that small group of real fashionistas, that tiny circle represented by Anna, Garance Doré et aliae who you see sprinting between shows at Paris fashion week or posing for pictures with André Leon Talley. I mean, no pap will snap my picture as I walk into Yorkdale. But you see what I’m getting at (I hope). I wanted to turn fashion into less of a trend-oriented activity towards something more permanent. Of course, although my creative capital is boundless, my actual capital is not. Thus, I do not expect to blossom into Chiara Ferragni tomorrow, or even next year. But I’m on my way, which leads me back to where I began.
In November 2011, then, I decided to dedicate myself to Missoni, my true love. Gone are the days of spending several thousands dollars a season on ephemeral trends. Instead, I have begun to buy only Missoni (besides the strictly necessary, like jeans and white t-shirts). Since Toronto is a terrible place to buy Missoni (stores in the city only get a few of the most conservative pieces and I find the prices something like 20% higher than elsewhere), I spend my free moments monitoring online stores for zigzags in size 38. Admittedly, it’s feast or famine. Once I splurge on a good piece, that’s it for me for the next little while. Nevertheless, the pain and sacrifices are worth it, as I know I’m working towards a greater goal.
I’m at 5 pieces so far, and I have another piece arriving any day now. I really do feel as if this is it for me. I see myself in 30 years old piling print upon print upon print like in my dreams (I’ll have to remain a 38 for life!), channeling the carefree days in Italy of my youth. When I wear my stripes and zigzags, I just know this is love. And let me tell you, I never knew there was a love like this before.