Quincy Jones feted longtime friend Angela Missoni on Tuesday night, celebrating her 20th anniversary as creative director of the Italian luxury label with a star-studded soiree at his Bel-Air home that began with cocktails and Sheléa Frazier at the piano paying homage to “women who rock” — Missoni among them — and ended with “Man in the Mirror” songwriter Siedah Garrett belting out an emotional version of the song Michael Jackson made famous.
In between, guests including Fergie, Amber Valletta, Anjelica Huston, Mitch Glazer, Kelly Lynch, stylist Jeanne Yang, Duran Duran’s John Taylor and his wife, Juicy Couture co-founder Gela Nash Taylor, were treated to a Wolfgang Puck-catered dinner and intimate piano performances by Jones-discovered singer/songwriter/pianists Eli Teplin and 16-year-old Emily Bear, whose fingers blazing across the piano keys, left the room full of considerable musical talent all but speechless.
Jones, a self-described “Missoni junkie,” sported a colorful blazer by the brand, and the company’s luxury knitwear was more than well represented throughout Jones’ manse thanks not only to the Missoni-clad guests but everything from striped Missoni drink coasters in the living room to framed Missoni-pattern sketches (gifts from Angela’s father, label co-founder Ottavio Missoni).
In between performances, we asked Missoni to look back over her two-decade tenure and share something that had made her particularly proud.
“I think my proudest moment was at the beginning when I realized I gave my mother the opportunity for a second life — a second creative life. I am very proud of that,” said Missoni, who also attended a private event at Mr Chow this week for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key to the Cure breast cancer campaign. (This year, the Missoni label designed the on-sale, limited-edition T-shirt for the annual campaign.)
Missoni’s mother, Rosita, who launched the label with Ottavio in 1953 — the same year the two wed — handed the creative reins to her daughter in 1997.
And regrets? “Sometimes I think to myself that maybe I’d like to have different timing during the year,” she answered with a chuckle. “For example, I’d like to go skiing in February. I’d like to go to Sardinia in September — but I do realize how very, very lucky I am.” (For anyone unaware of the twice-yearly fashion show calendar, those two months are among the most hectic.)
Missoni said she’s actually been friends with Jones longer than she has been creative director. “We met 25 or 26 years ago through a common friend — Claude Nobs, who organized the Montreux Jazz Festival and was a dear friend of Quincy’s,” she explained. “Quincy wanted to meet us because he’d been a Missoni freak since the ’70s. So they came down from Montreux [Switzerland] to meet us for lunch.”
For anyone who has been part of a sprawling, chaotic and celebratory meal with the Missoni family gathered around the table (as former Times fashion critic Booth Moore and I memorably were in 2011), it’s no surprise at all that the lunch Jones and Missoni shared more than a quarter of a century ago has knit the two colorful lives together — like one of the Missoni designs hanging in the hallway of Jones’ Bel-Air home.