LONDON — The Missonis have always been loud advocates of enjoying life and now they are sharing one of the key ingredients from their inherently Italian recipe for a good life: home-cooked food.
Francesco Maccapani Missoni, with a helping hand from his grandmother Rosita and mother Angela Missoni, created a Missoni cookbook — a compilation of 130 family recipes passed down from generation to generation.
It was a project that has been a long time in the making and required a lot of persistence on the part of Maccapani Missoni.
“The idea started around seven years ago. Francesco said that we should do a Missoni cookbook because nobody eats like we do at home and when my son wants to do something, he keeps pushing and pushing,” said Angela Missoni in an interview here.
For Maccapani Missoni, an avid cook and self-confessed foodie, the book was a way of preserving family tradition: “The idea was for everyone in the family to have their own recipe book from the last two generations. In 2013, my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was 80 at the time, so it made me start thinking that in the future when she passes away, these traditions could get lost,” he said.
The new tome — published by Assouline — features a range of recipes divided according to season, such as “Risi a Bisi” or rice and peas for spring or minced beef stew for autumn.
“We are really seasonal, we eat what comes out of our garden,” said Maccapani Missoni.
Some recipes are attached to different family members, like Rosita Missoni’s mini pizza recipe or the calf liver that Ottavio Missoni used to cook for the family. There’s also a section dedicated to party food, which highlights all the desserts the Missonis bake for family celebrations.
Two recipes – the budino chocolate desert and baked rigatoni – will feature in the menu of Daphne’s, a much-loved Italian restaurant in London’s Chelsea area, until July.
The recipes are presented next to a range of colorful, intimate photographs from the family’s personal archive, as well as imagery of the finished dishes. There are raw iPhone images of Missoni cooking at home, family portraits from group get-togethers, a picture of a young Maccapani Missoni picking up mushrooms and a shot of Rosita Missoni at sea with a bowl of sea urchins.
The imagery of the food was also shot to showcase what a typical Missoni dinner table looks like, complete with mismatched, colorful Missoni china, printed tablecloths and fresh flowers.
“If you came to our home for dinner, that’s what we’d be using,” said Maccapani Missoni, who organized the shoot for all the dishes featured in the book, under the close watch of his mother and grandmother.
Rosita Missoni tested each dish before it was shot to make sure it tasted as good as it looked, while Angela had the final say in what pictures would make it into the book, given her affinity for image making.
“We call her Angela Teller, the sister of Juergen [Teller],” said Maccapani Missoni, who never misses an opportunity to tease his mother.
The book offers a very personal look into the life of the Missonis and it comes at a time when the family is readying to celebrate a series of big milestones: “Two weeks ago was my parents’ wedding anniversary, they would be celebrating 65 years of marriage. To have something so personal, like a souvenir book, come out close to their marriage anniversary is very special,” said Angela Missoni, who marked 20 years at the helm of the company last year and is also planning the brand’s big 65th anniversary celebrations in September.
At a time when brands are putting more and more value into lifestyle beyond fashion, Missoni is at an advantage, having always embodied the concept of a lifestyle brand.
“People buy Missoni to be part of our lives, to feel like they’re part of the tribe. They relate to the brand because they can see we are simple people who enjoy life. We maintain a balance between the real world and fashion,” said Maccapani Missoni.
Communicating this sense of reality has always been important for the label and is becoming even more so as it looks to the future.
“It’s extremely competitive to find a space to make your voice heard in the digital world, so it’s important for us to keep talking about who we are and always use the right words,” said Missoni. “That’s why I did a campaign with Juergen Teller eight years ago. I wanted to show that we were real, we were a family not a marketing project, we had a soul and our product was something very personal. So, we pictured our family laughing, eating, drinking and just being together. That was eight years ago, now we have to keep communicating and projects like the cookbook will help tell the story.”
Also in the works is an exhibition in Milan to celebrate the brand’s 65 years, as well as a retail rollout in China and the homecoming of M Missoni, which was bought back by the company after the expiration of its licensing agreement with Valentino Fashion Group.