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Closet Patrol

For Teresa Maccapani Missoni, creativity runs in the family.<br><br><br><br>MONTONATE, Italy — Teresa Maccapani Missoni is like most 14-year-old Italian girls: She hangs out with friends after school, likes to shop at Fiorucci and Zara, prefers...

For Teresa Maccapani Missoni, creativity runs in the family.

MONTONATE, Italy — Teresa Maccapani Missoni is like most 14-year-old Italian girls: She hangs out with friends after school, likes to shop at Fiorucci and Zara, prefers Avril Lavigne to Britney Spears and describes her closet as one big “casino,” which in Italian means “major mess.”

However, unlike her freshmen counterparts at her high school in this Milan suburb nestled in the foothills of the Alps, Missoni has sat front row at Milan fashion shows, attended gala benefits and has even had Gisele Bündchen request one of her custom-made T-shirts from her small but flourishing business. Her mother is Angela Missoni, creative director of the venerable Italian fashion label that her grandparents, Ottavio and Rosita, founded almost a half century ago.

With a name like Missoni and the company’s manufacturing plant just minutes away from her house, one might expect her closet to be overflowing with the house’s signature knits. While she does have an abundance of colorful, zigzag Missoni tops, including her current favorite — a cowl-neck and bell-sleeve number — she also has a distinctly individual style.

Packed into her closet are looks that run the gamut from sweet to street, including a Missoni chiffon baby-doll top and Puma camouflage slip-on sneaks. Spliced in are funky Custo Barcelona T-shirts, Miu Miu pink plaid slingbacks and dark-rinsed D&G wide-leg jeans.

“I really believe you should dress to make yourself, not others, happy,” said Missoni, her almond-shape brown eyes wide with intensity. “I dress how I like to dress — there’s always color. I don’t like all black or all white and I don’t follow fashion trends, although most girls here feel they need to. I rather dress in a way that expresses my moods, my personality.”

Her sense of style is somewhat influenced by her mother and older sister, Margherita, who is 19.

“When I go to a [Missoni] fashion show, it’s more than just a runway show. For me, it’s my mother’s work and her effort and it’s emotional,” she said. “Unfortunately, my teachers don’t quite understand that and they can get upset when I need to miss a lesson to attend a show.”

While Margherita has been gaining attention on the international circuit as an up-and-coming “It” girl, Teresa has also begun to garner a following thanks to her colorful, funky one-of-kind T-shirts. Slashed, fringed, tie-dyed or detailed with appliqués and feathers, Maccapani Missoni has been creating the Ts for about three years, although she said her career aspiration for now is to become an actress rather than a fashion designer.

During the latest round of runway shows in Milan, Gisele snagged six of the Ts and Eva Herzigova put in a request for two more. “It makes me really happy that people like my style,” she said.

Style, according to Missoni, is something innate and can’t be taught.

“Yes, maybe I have more of a sense of style because of my family, my mother,” she said. “But I really believe that style comes from within, it’s in your blood. It’s just a matter of having the ability to bring it out.”