Design dynasties: the fashion families you need to know
When you think of working with your family, what emotion springs to mind? Is it frustration? Unbridled fury? The feeling that you cannot imagine that happening in any world currently available to us in the known universe?
Okay, sure. Fair response. I hear you! And this whole working from home situation has really cemented that for you. Cool. But for those in the creative industries...it often is the opposite. Sometimes, your family are the only people who understand your vision, and who are willing to work night and day with you to achieve it. Think of all the Jonas Brothers! Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray! Hanson! Will Smith's kids! Don't ask me why all my references are 10 years out of date, thanks!
When we look at fashion over the years, you'll see the same names crop up, time after time. Brothers and sisters, couples, parents passing down iconic knowledge to their kids. And it seems to work out (not all the time, but definitely more than you think it would)! So I thought that we could hold hands, and climb up the fashion family tree together, and maybe learn something for once, goddamn!
You've probably heard of fashion houses - big Italian and French design conglomerates that pump out clothes, accessories, skincare, and makeup. These Maisons are often rooted in deep familial traditions, and they guard their secrets and styles jealously.
When I think of a leading fashion family, I tend to gravitate to ~drama~ which inevitably takes me to VERSACE. The house was founded in 1978, and is still family run today - but not without a huge dose of tragedy. From all accounts, the founder and visionary Gianni Versace (who brought Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista to the catwalk, and who invented the term 'supermodel' after he paid them incredibly amounts of cashola) was a driven yet gentle artist, who was one of the first to understand the link between fashion and celebrity. He spearheaded the movement toward packing front rows with famous faces, but behind the scenes he kept it all in the family, with sister Donatella and brother Santo both serving instrumental roles - both before and after Gianna's assassination in 1997 (the same year his beloved Diana died - it truly was a shithouse year).
One of the most interesting characters in the Versace saga for me is Donatella's daughter Allegra, who was close to Gianni, and whose heart was broken after his death and as a result, completely shunned the spotlight.
There's a broken irony in the man who loved celebrity, leaving a 50% stake to a girl whose life it ruined.
There are other European families who remain indelibly etched into the fabrics of modern garments - PRADA, run by Miucca and her husband. I actually had no idea that Prada also runs and owns MIU MIU (but duh, of course they do), and that it has been around since 1913.
Both Prada and Versace originated in Milan, and both draw their robust and optically-electrifying patterns from the infamously chaotic and fashionably eccentric city.
But let's bring it back to a more financially manageable level. What about familial fashion that is a tad more affordable, you ask? I agree! Closer to home, the ZIMMERMANN sisters have made a...last name for themselves, with Nicky and Simone (!!! cool name) creating everything your ruffled dreams could ever want. I had this pair of beige suede platforms (obviously sample sale, dolls) that made me feel like I was 10 ft tall, and I crushed many toes at Supersmall in those back in the day. Also important here: they have recently come under a lot of fire for their racist policing of employees, so I'll be avoiding them until there's a better acknowledgement of their own discriminatory practices, than this one.
Other sibling operations include CAMILLA & MARC, who run their iconic, angular clothing out of Aus and focus on masculine iterations of the female form, which is my absolute jam, personally. THE ROW, HIDE THE LABEL, RODARTE, DSQUARED2...also all sibs.
And of course, the reason we're all here - did you know that Maison de Choup is a family operation? In fact, it's even named after George's sister Charlotte - aka Choup - who supported him through his toughest times. And the brand itself is moving to a full in-house production, with dad Mike (a graphic designer, no less) now working the t-shirt printer.
So from the most recognisable brands in the world, to the hard-working, home-run outfits, if you look hard enough you can find the thread of family connecting them all.
WEARING: This maxi version of this Never Fully Dressed piece is getting a bit of a day out, with some nicer weather hanging around - I find it really interesting to see a black floral maxi, rather than your usual pastels.
BUYING: Okay so - I have casual sneakers, and some ratty-ass ones I can potentially run in (I don't run). But I need an in-between. Currently searching.