UPDATE: In an interview printed in the Italian daily La Repubblica, Vittorio Missoni's sister Angela said she received the news while on vacation in Oman with her parents Rosita and Ottavio, the company's founders. 'Our hope is that he is still alive,' Angela says. 'We want to hope, because for us it is important.' After telling her mother, Angela called Italian diplomatic authorities to activate search efforts. She told Ottavio Missoni the following morning. 'We decided to let him rest, he was very tired,' Angela explains. 'When, at 5.30 in the morning he saw us all standing and he looked at our faces and said 'what happened? I am 92, but I'm not stupid'. And so we told him the truth.'
Margherita Missoni, Angela Missoni and Vittorio Missoni at the Missoni show in Singapore - May 13 2011
EARLIER: It was reported on Saturday that Vittorio Missoni, the chief executive of the Missoni fashion house, is missing. The 58-year-old was on an aircraft that disappeared off the coast of Venezuela during its short flight from the resort island of Los Roques. A naval ocean-searching vessel joined the hunt for Vittorio and his wife, Maurizia Castiglioni, as well as two friends and two crew who were also on board. As yet, no sign of the plane has been found.
Today, the Missoni company released a statement confirming that Vittorio and his wife are missing. 'The small plane they were travelling on has disappeared. This is all the information currently available,' the statement read. 'The company await news from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all other institutions involved, to whom the company are very grateful their swift help and assistance. As more information becomes available the company will issue further statements.'
In common with other Italian brands, the Missoni company is a family one. It was founded by Vittorio’s father Ottavio (known as Tai) and Rosita Missoni in 1953. After showing during Paris Fashion Week in 1976, the late '70s became the first era in which Missoni became a cutting edge brand. The decade itself has left a lasting imprint on the label's style with its trademark zigzag knitwear and haute-hippy chic.
Rosita surrendered control of the design process to her daughter Angela in 1997, who expanded the company's remit into shoes, the diffusion line M and more non-knit pieces in the mainline collection. Meanwhile Rosita turned her attention to the Missoni Home collection, providing another element to the complete Missoni lifestyle.
Vittorio, Ottavio’s oldest son, played a key role in marketing the Missoni family creations in Asia, especially in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea, and became general director of marketing of Missoni SpA. He also is responsible for the company’s products in the US and France.
Missoni is scheduled to show its latest menswear creations on the Milan catwalk later this month.