Celebrated designer, Margherita Maccapani Missoni meets Plum Guide to tell us all about her design philosophy, how travel keeps us inspired and why her grandfather was an ultimate arbiter of style.
We’d love to hear about your design philosophy…
My design philosophy is generally pretty instinctive. Of course it’s a job so, professionally, you do it on another level. But for me, designing – whether it’s clothing or furniture – is more of a response to a need that I feel, in the sense that I like, collect and make things spontaneously. I’m lucky that I was able to transform that into a career but it blends in with life without a moment’s break from that creative impulse.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I try to consciously make efforts to go out and see things – to travel, to go to museums, to go to shows... I believe that we are inspired by everything that we come across. There’s an importance to exposing oneself to different sources and inputs. We would even be inspired by a blank wall, but if we are stimulated, the creative process becomes much richer. If I had to give one broad answer though, it would be travelling.
Travelling and exploring the art and culture of a place is the key to staying inspired
How would you describe your personal style – both in terms of fashion and interiors?
Very much emotional and meaningful to me – not meaningful on a philosophical or cultural level, but most things that I really like and end up filling my house with or covering myself with are things that take me back somewhere. Whether it’s to a moment in life, or to a place I’ve been. I like the 90s because I liked my clothes back then, for example. I have things in my home, whether they’re small or big pieces of furniture, that I’ve changed, reupholstered or painted that have been kept over and over since forever.
What has been your greatest lockdown discovery?
Going back to doing things with my hands which I really enjoy – making things, embroidering and doing these things with my children. It brings me so much joy.
I had kind of let those things go for a while in adult life but I still had all these boxes of materials that we really took advantage of during lockdown and we still are taking advantage of. During this holiday we’ve made so much stuff – from tie dye to beading to scoobies.
And now that the world is beginning to open up again, where’s next on your travel wishlist?
Antarctica is the place that I’d really like to visit next. It’s the one trip that I want to plan.
A trip to Antarctica is at the top of Margherita's travel wishlist
Tell us the story behind a favourite item in your home
My sofa which is from the 1950s and in the shape of a comma. My mum found it on eBay for 300 euros when I was about to move to Milan and it was kept in my Milan apartment for quite some time in its original fabric because it was perfect. But now, I’ve covered it in powder blue velvet and it’s my favourite spot at home. I will probably have to change it again soon though because powder blue velvet is not the best idea with children around! I think I want to keep it light but definitely not velvet – I’ll get something more textured.
What makes a house a home to you?
The memories – the fact that things have a history make a home cosy for me.
The memories behind objects make a house a home for Margherita
Where is your home away from home?
I guess here in Sardinia. It’s the place where every summer of my life I have come for at least a week, if not a month. This year, we’ve been here for a good three weeks and it’s where I spend time with my family of provenance: my mum, my siblings, my cousins.
Sardinia is a special place for Margherita and her family
Who or what do you consider to be an arbiter of style?
I like the style of people who have very different styles to me. Their style really belongs to them, but it wouldn’t look as good on me or on someone else – so they’re an arbiter in that sense. People like Lauran Baccal had incredible style and I love everything about her. At the same time, and in that same generation, Marilyn Monroe was really different but I love her style as well. Although she’s not referenced for style, she had a very specific thing going on which was very true to her.
There are people now who have that too, and it’s even harder because we have so many more items today. We don’t have to pick a specific direction. But people from Anna Wintour to Carine Roitfeld really have their own specific thing going on which is not mine, but that I really appreciate.
My grandfather used to be like that – he looked so cool but no one else would look as cool, or even cool at all, with his style.
For the Plum Guide ‘Perfect Stay’ home test, we collaborate with experts from different fields — from psychologists and hospitality experts to architects and interior designers — to identify the ingredients a holiday home needs in order to deliver a perfect stay. If you were designing a test or set of criteria for the perfect holiday home, what ingredient(s) would you specify as essential for the perfect stay?
The right balance between external and internal spaces is really essential for a holiday home. A bigger living area compared to the bedrooms is important because the convivial part of a holiday is key to me. And then the location, not necessarily next to the sea or anything, but it needs to be beautiful.