The time has come that we find ourselves in the midst of Milan fashion week, verging on the Parisian one that lays ahead, and whilst we still may be coming to terms with D&G's closure, it looks as though its Italian counterparts will keep us occupied for future seasons.
What's interesting about many of these famous Italian fashion companies though is the fact that they are family orientated. When a Head Designer or Creative Director dies, gets bored or God forbid gets murdered, a relation often steps in to inherit the brand and keep it going. In Paris labels such as Givenchy, Dior and Balmain are usually taken over by whoever's a popular designer at the time; in Milan labels such as Prada, Missoni and Versace have always been family run.
When Mario Prada died in 1958 his daughter Luisa took over the company and twenty years later his granddaughter Miuccia became Head Designer. Interestingly Mario believed that there was no place for women in the world of business yet, seeing as his son wasn't interested in fashion, it transpired that his female relatives kept the company going. In fact, it is Miuccia Prada's talent and determination, which have made the brand what is today - an innovative label, which inspires both designers and fashionistas alike, setting its own unique trends as it breaks the formalities of convention. If last season's fruit trend didn't prove that, 2012's cars certainly will:
Like Prada, Missoni is another Italian label, which has passed through the generations of its respective family. Although married designer duo Ottavio and Rosita Missoni founded the brand in 1953, they got bored of it twenty years later and subsequently passed it on to their daughter Angela. Angela has managed to keep the brand young and fresh with the help of her beautiful daughter Margherita Missoni, resulting in collection after collection of sumptuous knits - the current AW designs are to die for.
In contrast to Prada and Missoni, Versace's story is one of great sadness; at the age of 50 Gianni Versace was shot dead by a spree-killer to the shock and misery of the entire fashion world. Despite this, his sister Donatella has kept Gianni's vision alive through her indisputable determination, creating red-carpet ready and day-to-day looks with ease - each beholding the edgy sex appeal, which Versace is known for. One need only look at Lindsey Wixon in that gorgeous studded maxi of Versace's most recent SS collection to understand.
It is the talent behind these labels, which is necessary for them to prosper, regardless of family ; without it they would dwindle, just as Gucci did before Tom Ford came and rescued it in the 1990s. A family-based fashion company is a beautiful thing; it reflects the importance of family and tradition, essential to Italian culture. Thus, long may these designing talents be passed down from one generation to the next so that these family based fashion houses may live on long into the future, as one family member succeeds another to great success.