Vittorio Missoni Biography

Fashion Designer (1954–)
Italian business executive Vittorio Missoni is best known for serving as CEO of the Missoni brand, founded by his parents in the 1950s. In 2013, a plane carrying Vittorio Missoni, along with his wife three others, disappeared off the coast of Venezuela.


Born in 1954 in Lombardy, Italy, Vittorio Missoni's parents, Ottavio and Rosita, were the founders of the high fashion brand Missoni. In 1996, Vittorio and his two siblings assumed control of Missoni, with Vittorio eventually rising to the rank of CEO. In January 2013, a plane carrying Vittorio Missoni, along with his wife three others, disappeared off the coast of Venezuela. In June 2013, the plane's wreckage was located not far from where the aircraft departed, in the waters near the Los Roques island resort.

Early Life

Vittorio Missoni was born in 1954 in Gallarate, Lomardy, Italy, to parents Ottavio and Rosita. A year prior to Vittorio's birth, the Missonis opened a knitwear store in Gallarate. Their business continued to grow and evolve during the 1950s. In 1958, the first garments featuring the Missoni label appeared in stores. The Missoni family also added two additional children, Luca and Angela, to their numbers during this time.

By the mid-1960s, the company's easy knitwear designs, bearing a distinctive zigzag pattern, had become the basis of a successful brand. Vittorio and his siblings grew up in an environment of style and privilege, meeting fashion legends and posing for pictures that ran in fashion and lifestyle magazines. In the late 1960s, the Missonis relocated their company headquarters from Lombardy to Milan—this move contributed to the elevation of northern Italy, and Milan in particular, as a world capitol of fashion.

Leadership of Missoni

In 1996, after more than 30 years in the business, Ottavio and Rosita passed leadership of the Missoni house to their three children; the change took place at a time when interest in the brand had ebbed significantly. Each of the three younger Missonis took on a distinct role within the business, with the goal of restoring it to international prominence. While Angela and Luca assumed creative control, Vittorio led the manufacturing and marketing side of operations. Eventually, he moved from a marketing role to become the company's chief executive in Europe and the United States.

Vittorio Missoni initiated the brand's global expansion after 1996. Over the next 15 years, Missoni became a lifestyle brand as well as a fashion house, lending its name and well-known patterns to items as diverse as towels, perfume and bicycles. The first Missoni hotel opened in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2009. A collaboration with the modestly priced chain store Target in 2011 proved so popular that traffic to the Target website overwhelmed its servers. Advertisements featuring the Missoni family, including Angela's daughter Margherita, have helped to establish the glamorous image of the brand. The Missoni family compound in Sardinia has been featured in Missoni ads, as well as in countless magazine articles and profiles.


On January 4, 2013, a private plane carrying Vittorio Missoni; his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni; two other passengers; and two crew members, disappeared off the coast of Venezuela. The party was returning from the island resort of Los Roques, a destination favored by many wealthy Italians. At the time of its disappearance, the plane was headed for the Caracas airport—a short trip, usually taking less than an hour.

A massive sea and air search did not immediately yield evidence or clues of the plane's whereabouts. While many news outlets assumed that the plane had crashed, members of the Missoni family remained unconvinced that this was the case, citing a text message sent form the plane after its disappearance as evidence of foul play. Luca Missoni, a trained pilot, flew to Venezuela to assist in the aerial search. Newspaper reports that the bodies had been discovered, on January 10, 2013, proved to be untrue.

Plane Found

In late June 2013, wreckage of the plane that had been carrying Missoni and five others nearly six months earlier, was found in the waters near the Los Roques island resort (near where the aircraft departed), according to the Missoni fashion company. Family members of the missing passengers "are confident that the investigation will follow through to ascertainment of the causes and the responsibility for the accident," the company said in a statement on June 27, 2013.

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