Being Mama: Margherita Missoni

The childrenswear designer and mama of two young boys tells us about her difficult births (she’s never had a contraction!), why she designs for kids and how motherhood has made her a better person


Margherita Missoni has fashion running deep within her veins. You can tell just by looking at the former model, heir to the Missoni fashion empire and now, childrenswear designer, that style is part of her DNA. And while Margherita had the option to do anything in fashion – check that surname again – she decided to focus on childrenswear, with a label, simply named Margherita Kids, which is very much informed by her life as a mom. The clothes are functional, fun and look great, but they come at a much smaller price tag than you’d expect – most retail for under $100.

“My childrenswear was definitely inspired by having children myself,” she says. “Before I had the boys I really only thought about how cute a pattern was – I never thought about practicality, which of course is a huge consideration for a mom!” Realizing there was a gap in the market for practical, beautiful clothing, Margherita went for it. It all happened pretty quickly with Nordstrom and Yoox becoming two early clients, and now, the label is stocked all over the world, and Margherita has collaborated on diffusion lines with Pottery Barn Kids. Though she began her career as an actress, designing, she says, is her true love. “It’s very autonomous and I’m left very much to my own devices. I love being my own boss.”

At home, Margherita is mama to two boys, who seem to have inherited their mother’s love of autonomy. “They’re very much boys,” she says, laughing. “It’s hard to put into words exactly what they’re like. They’re full of life, full of energy – they very much do their own thing, despite my best efforts!”

While Margherita’s first pregnancy was relatively smooth, the birth itself was “awful,” she says. “I broke my wrist a week after my due date – I was walking everywhere to try to induce the baby, and I fell and broke my wrist.” Before doctors would operate on Margherita’s wrist, they insisted on inducing the birth. “I was in absolute agony,” she says. Three days after the induction was administered, there was still no sign of Otto wanting to join the world. Finally, he made his way in via C-section, and doctors could operate on the broken wrist. “Unfortunately,” says Margherita, “I then had a really bad reaction to the anaesthetic they gave me, and had a panic attack. It was pretty horrible. I had a cast for the first month of my baby’s life, which, as you can imagine, was not easy at all. My poor husband had to change every single diaper for the first month!”

Margherita’s second birth, with Augusto, went a little smoother, but still, she never had a contraction. “It’s true! My waters broke the second time around, and I went to the hospital after about 36 hours. I didn’t know whether to go as I didn’t have any contractions, but I went and was able to deliver by C-section.” The second time round, says Margherita, was much more painful. “But I have two healthy babies, so I can’t complain.”

For each pregnancy, Margherita employed an Italian ‘doula’, who assisted her through pregnancy, birth, and then the early months of having a baby. “Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without her!” she says. “My doula helped me with exercises and breathing to do during pregnancy, and then of course through the labor, and even helped me with my baby blues after having my children. I wish all mothers could have someone like this to help them through those transitive months. It made all the difference to me.”

With a fashion empire to run, Margherita admits that she is lucky to be able to work from home and adjust her schedule around the needs of her boys. “For me, returning to work after having my kids was quite easy. I work from home, sometimes in my pyjamas! It’s not like going to an office, where there are different expectations. I did travel quite a bit when the kids were little, but they always came with me.” Nowadays, while Otto is at preschool and Augusto is at daycare, Margherita works from home on her label, along with two co-workers who also work out of her home. At lunchtime, it’s time to pick up the boys – “we always have lunch together,” says Margherita, “it’s the Italian way!” – and then it’s nap time. “While the boys nap, I work a little more, and then we all head over to my grandmother’s.” That would be Rosita Missoni, who, along with husband Ottavio, founded the Missoni label. “She is very popular because she’s turned her backyard into a playground! There’s a swimming pool and slides and swings – the boys love going there!”

While motherhood changes all of us, for Margherita, the transformation has been a welcome one. “I used to feel like the whole world depended on me, and I really worried so much more than I needed to. Then I had children and I realised that I didn’t need to be like that. I hope my boys don’t feel the weight of the world on their shoulders like I did. I’ve learned to be more relaxed – I’m an easier person to be around!”