Angela Missoni has been on the hunt from a very young age. As a tot, she trekked across the globe with her mother who frequently took research trips for the family fashion empire. Since then, she’s developed a careful eye (and nose) for quirky knickknacks and forgotten-about gems that now form the base of the vintage-filled, maximalist jumble she calls home. With her penchant for diving into off-the-map second-hand shops, the designer reveals here her insatiable collecting habits that kick retail snobbery to the curb and celebrate equal opportunity shopping.

Don’t go with a shopping list: “In all the years I followed by mother across London, Paris and other cities, I learned that you will never find anything if you are searching for it. You go to vintage markets to find something that will surprise you not because you have it on a list of things to buy.”

Seize the moment!  “Today a lot of the good stuff is gone so if you find something great, pounce on it! The other day I found an amazing console on the lake (you need to go where the beautiful old houses are) and I sent messages to everyone I knew because it only cost 320 euro! Somebody needs it! If not now, they’ll need it for later.”

Don’t wear your era: “I love vintage but you should never wear clothes from a period that you have lived. You will not see me in YSL from the 80s and I will only wear Missoni from ten years ago.”

Expensive is not always better: “With the exception of a few pieces from Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass, my home is mostly chockfull of simple items I purchased at second-hand shops. You don’t need items that are materially important just emotionally important.”

Don’t be a retail snob: “Don’t worry if something is inexpensive or without a label. I cannot get enough of colored, enameled copper and have bought have plates, cups, bowls, and ashtrays. I also have a ton of benches of all sizes in wood and iron. None of these objects are signed or marked but they are all over the house!”

More is more: “I had a few faceted crystal and glass ashtrays and then I started to add in bowls and glasses. They didn’t make any sense by themselves but as I added more they became more important and very quickly, it was a large collection.”

Its all about placement: “I have a ton of old, tall, glass vases from the 50s and 60s and when my mother (the original Missoni Matriarch, Rosita) saw them she said they didn’t seem to special but when I lined them all up in the fireplace she said WOW! They look like discarded but beautiful wedding gifts.”

Three is the magic number: “I started collecting ceramic flowers 7 years ago. Once you have 3 together (and even up to 30!) you realize how great they look and how they can form the base of a collection. Now I have too many to count!”

Dig deep: “There were a lot of items in my grandmother’s home that I didn’t love but under the heaps and piles of things I found a small collection of Fornasetti ashtrays. From your family attic to your local junkshop, you have to sort through a lot of nothing to find the real gems.”

Be flexible: “I started to collect colorful little Bambi figures for the nativity at Christmas but then I couldn’t find any more colored ones so I moved on to white. Now there are so many I have lost count and I use them all year round, not just for the holidays.”

Hands are my favorite body part to collect: “I am fascinated by hands—their capacity to do and create things, how strong they can be, how gentile and how graceful. Any time there is a hand—part of a sculpture, a painting, or printed across a set of plates, even in Fornasetti objects – I have to have them.”

Look for cheap shoes on your travels: “I have a ton of shoes that I got in Mumbai just outside the Taj Mahal. I loved all of the colors and materials and the jewels. Leather sandals and block wedges with embellishments. They are like art objects that are now they are lined up at home with everything else!”

All you need is a good cantina: “When we moved into this house almost 4 years ago I pulled everything out that was sitting in storage for almost 5 years and filled the rooms. When you serendipitously stumble across a piece that you fall in love with, don’t worry about where the pieces will go; just buy them and store them them until you have the space.”

-Meredith Nichols

Story Credits
  • Creative Director- J.J. Martin
  • Portrait Photography- Alberto Zanetti
  • Fashion Director- Viviana Volpicella
  • Location Photography- Mattia Iotti