l Angela

Angela Missoni may be the designer of the eponymous Italian fashion house but don’t think that her roles as grand matriarch and quintessential hostess play second fiddle to her fashion day job—the woman can balance a dinner party for 50 just as easily as the season’s next collection. Reigning from the family’s multigenerational stomping ground and country refuge far from Milan’s city center, Missoni has set up shop entertaining a nexus of cool creatives, fashion folk and her beloved family. From intimate aperitivi, Christmas dinners or a wedding celebration for 250, Missoni keeps her cool and never bats a mascara-laden lash. Here, she reveals her failsafe rules for running a home—with a few beauty tips to boot!

On Entertaining:

A buffet is the best idea for a dinner party: “Everyone is more relaxed when there is a buffet and it allows more people to fit into a space and socialize. “

Don’t bring a knife to a buffet: “No one wants to hold their drink and try to cut a big roast; only serve easy-finger foods at a buffet like crudité and sliced cheeses and meats.”

Save seated dinners for the holidays: “We have a sit-down family dinner at Christmas but that is only because I like to play with the table and show off the settings. The rest of the year I like to spread out big, oversized cushions all over the house for people to sit on and enjoy. ”

Traditional table settings are boring: “I never do a classic, serious setting. I always mix things up with different colors and a variety of different objects so that every table has its own story. I like to make people laugh.”

Men require special set-ups: “At the 60th birthday for Bruno, my companion, I tried to make the dinner table look clean and design-like. A man doesn’t like floral ceramics or a lot of décor. I’m trying to be more minimalist. But let’s face it, it’s never really minimal.”

Go pazza with your plates: “I love to use a combination of new and vintage plates that are always mixed up and laid across the table in a playful way.”

I’m obsessed with centerpieces: “For parties large or small, they are super important. For Margherita’s wedding I went in search of all the teapots I could find. I found hundreds of them at second-hand shops. They weren’t fancy but they looked terrific grouped together on all of the tables.”

Don’t fear nose-to-tail eating: “It is not the norm but here in the country we eat everything—the liver, tripe, cheek! My mom came from that tradition, so we eat every last inch on the animal. “

Keep chickens: “I’m lucky that all of the chickens live at my mother’s house so I don’t have to look after them but it is amazing that we have fresh eggs on demand when we want.”

When in doubt, make risotto: “If you are short on time and even if there is nothing in the fridge, risotto will save you. You only need a bit of zafferano. And if you have any old veg lying around in the fridge, add that too.”

Easy is best: “I may have a maximal home but I like simple plates made with vegetables. Eggs are also a lifesaver and can be thrown in a salad to make it instantly delicious.”

Find a good caterer after 50 guests: “I can manage the direction of the food but for larger events I turn to our trusted caterers who I oversee. We have taught the family recipes – vitello tonato, cotoletta, and insalata russa—to them so they can whip them up in a flash.”

Thank God for Gorgonzola: “In addition to salumi and other cured meats, every aperitivo should have a wheel of gorgonzola. I like to serve it with raisin bread and celery. We served an entire, sweet wheel for Bruno’s birthday and decorated it with 60 candles as if it were a cake!”

On Home Décor:

Don’t be a design snob: “Most of my house is decorated with objects found in crappy second-hand shops. There are very few important and expensive pieces from Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass and Franco Albini but for the most part my house is filled with non-valuable items I love.”

Don’t be scared to move things around: “I don’t like anything permanent like upholstery or tapestry, and I am constantly rearranging artworks and objects to keep the home feeling fresh.”

Befriend a local florist: “I love all flowers and have a weekly supply of fresh ones dropped off at the house. The fun part is that I never know what I will get and let my friend make all the decisions.”

Fake flowers are ok: “I collect fake ones made of fabric, ceramic and plastic. They are so fun and always brighten up the mood.”

The vase should match the flower: “If you have high vases, buy lots of long-stemmed flowers. Let the flower be free, don’t try to make it fit into something just so it looks orderly.”

Order your chaos: “I have one dedicated room in the basement for all of my plates and another corner just for vases and ceramics. It is important to know where everything is before you mix it all up!”

On Beauty

Take your vitamins: “My beauty regime is basic and has been the same for the last two decades: Vitamin C gel and Kerstin Florian Hyaluronic acid every day to stay healthy. “

Wear your hair short when pregnant: “I’ve always had long hair except when I was pregnant. My daughter Margherita and I wore our hair short before we came mothers. It transforms you.”

Leave your eyebrows alone: “Once you pluck, they won’t grow back. Let them be.”

Don’t leave home without mascara: “I always wear it. It is my beauty lifesaver. Even in the pool or at the seaside I am never without it. “

-Meredith Nichols

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