Iman and Missoni clan jetting in for Rodeo honor

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She is essentially retired from modeling now, she says, so these awards are particularly flattering and confirm that all the hard work was worth it. “The group I came up with as a model _ I don’t know where most of them are now. This I feel like makes me relevant.”

The celebrity platform also allows her to keep her causes front and center. She’ll be on Rodeo Drive, for example, to talk about a Save the Children Auction and about severe drought conditions in East Africa. She also does work for The Children’s Defense Fund and Raise Hope for Congo.

Rachel Zoe will be dressing her for the ceremony, with Iman trusting the stylist to make her look West Coast appropriate. “Rachel likes my kind of clothes _ 70s-inspired, California cool, and easy and breezy.”

Iman does have happy memories of Los Angeles. It’ where she met husband Bowie on a blind date, set up by her hair-dresser. Married now for 19 years, she says they live a pretty quiet life.

“I could go out every night of the week, but who wants to _ other than reality stars? That works for them, but that would work against me. The reason I’ve survived is that I’m not always out there. The reason people still think I look great is because they don’t see me all the time.”

_Angela Missoni

Angela Missoni is part of the sandwich generation of a family that’s so tightly weaved together _ like one of Missoni’s knit garments. As creative director, she is charged with respecting and maintaining the brand’s colorful history, while moving both its style and business forward.

All this from someone who wanted to be a psychologist. “I never thought of being a fashion designer or (to) be the head of the company,” she recalls in a telephone interview from Italy. “I started to work a little bit for the company when I was 19 _ after high school, in the summer for some pocket money.”

Missoni was already a fashion force then. Founded in 1953, its kaleidoscope designs were a signature of Italian fashion by the `60s. In recent years, it enjoyed a rebirth thanks to the popular bohemian, 1970s-inspired style that Hollywood starlets seem to love. The brand expanded into the home decorating market and even branded hotels.

As a young woman, Angela, now 52, wanted to focus on motherhood, giving birth to Margherita at age 23, followed by Francesco and Teresa. Ironically, it was because she wanted to focus on her children that she moved closer to her parents _ and the rest is history, she says. “I went to my father and said, I realize working in this company is never going to be my life. He asked, `Why?’ I say, `I want to design jewelry,’ and he told me Missoni was a big hat and I can do that.”

As she carved her own projects there, though, she also found herself working side by side on fashion with her mother _ and Angela liked it.

In 1993, she recalls, her mother told her that her designs were “what Missoni should look like today.”

She’s been the primary designer ever since, but she suspects that she’ll be giving her own children more and more responsibility. Margherita already models in ad campaigns and gave creative input on the now sold-out Target collaboration _ which, says Angela, had totally unexpected, overwhelming results.

“I thought it would be something big. I thought it would be cute, but I could have never imagined the size of it now.”

As part of the joint venture with Target, Angela visited the company’s home base in Minneapolis a few times. “It’s very different from the cities I usually visit. There was a big snowstorm at the end of April. … It was very curious to see the people in Minneapolis: They are in buildings all the time and use those bridges that connect them. They only wear their coat to the car and never wear again for the rest of the day!”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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