In this day and age the idea of a family business evokes a sense of nostalgia. Although rare, they do still exist, and Missoni is an inspiring example. MissoniHome was the guest of honour at this year’s Interior Design Show in Toronto, and after the four-day event, Giorgio Jelmini (the company’s operations manager) took some time to tell us what it’s like working for the infamous Italian brand. Plus, he shared some must-have items for your home this spring.
What is a regular day at work like for you?
There isn’t really a regular day. It depends what point in the collection process we’re in. Most days I’m in the office for a short meeting with my purchasing and production teams. We make a plan of that day. In the collection creation part of the year (February and March), I’ll have a meeting with Wanda Jelmini and her creative team on the progress of the collection. At other times I’m working with suppliers from the outside, from Italy as well as Portugal, Belgium and more to research and develop textiles and other materials to make the creative vision possible.
What is your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of my job is finding the right solution to make a new idea or product possible. Many times an initial idea sends us on a journey to find a supplier, archival piece or new form of production. I like the challenge of finding a way to develop the final product, which sometimes means changing, often improving the production deliverable so that it meets to creative intent and is usable for consumers at the same time.
What’s it like working for a family business?
As with many things in life, it can be both good and challenging. Sometimes it is difficult – weighing ideas with brothers, sisters and cousins can be hard to find that balance, but it’s something we face and have to solve to get the best out of it. On the other side, a family business has a power that no other business can have, its passion and energy run through everyone because it’s something you do together with people you love – that’s what makes it so special.
What are the differences or similarities between fabrics used for the home versus for clothing?
The main difference is durability characteristics. Furnishings have to be more durable. The most difficult part of this is translating light, easy fashion looks into durable home pieces that will last and are able to be used every day. We have to be very inventive to create the same appeal for home as fashion.
What drew you to participating in Toronto’s Interior Design Show?
I was excited to talk about and share the message and history of Missoni and MissoniHome with a market that is growing so much in design. And also to look at the other talented exhibitors, to be inspired by something interesting.
What’s the biggest textile trend for the home this year?
One of the new trends we’re leading is textured camouflage as a pattern. For us, this is a new way we’ve decided to put together different patterns.
How would you describe your personal style?
Informal, easy going – my go to outfit is jeans and a sweater.
What is the most interesting material you’ve ever working with for a MissoniHome product?
It’s more of a process, the most interesting process to work with, for me, is digital printing on fabric. This is really interesting and gives a fantastic result for many of our designs that wouldn’t have been possible before the technology existed. It gives the opportunity to print unlimited colours and details on fabric. Though this also means we need to pay even closer attention to balancing colours to achieve a harmonious combination of patterns and colours ways. For example, in some of our new bedding, we took an actual painting from a member of our team and translated it into a fabric – with seven to eight shading colours just in one flower.
The Missoni stripes and zigzags patterns have been loved for so long now. What makes them so iconic?
The interpretation of it is iconic. Everyone makes zigzags, but the key is to interpret the colours. The difference between MissoniHome and others is the balance of colours we achieve.
When selecting new textiles, how do you find a balance between remaining loyal to the tradition of the Missoni brand while also staying current and on-trend?
We actually like to find something far from Missoni taste and meet the challenge of making it Missonian. We don’t say no to anything because it’s not “Missoni” enough. Exactly the opposite, the challenge and best result is in the interpretation of something new.
What are Missoni Home’s key pieces for this season?
Our Poppies Outdoor collection is a new way to realize outdoor with black and white and zigzag. Before, we mainly did outdoor in colourful floral. Now we realize it’s important to have an iconic pattern for outdoor as well. Also, the Top 4 sofa, which debuted last year but the size has been tweaked to be a little larger, perfecting the design and becoming the new sofa for MissoniHome. Another key collection is the Lilium theme, it uses neutral colours with the iconic pattern in playful ways throughout, like the zigzags inside flower petals, and it perfect for a more traditionally decorated home.