8 Fashion Designers Explain Why Their Moms Are Their Eternal Muses

Vogue Runway asked eight designers whose work is informed by their mothers to reflect on how their moms shaped their lives and careers. Some, like Angela Missoni, followed in mom’s footsteps and took up the family business; others, like Diane von Furstenberg, aim to carry on the fearless legacy of the women that bore them. What is consistent: When it comes to fashion, moms are the best muses.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte

“Our mother has always inspired us. She instilled in us a belief in fierce independence and artistic integrity. We learned to love art and film through her eyes and her generous spirit. Always be creative and dream, always observe the world around you … she has a fondness for nature that follows her everywhere.”

Diane von Furstenberg

“My mother, an Auschwitz survivor, used to say, ‘God has saved my life so that I can give you life.’ Her words resonate with me every day of my life. I feel it is my duty to make up for all the suffering she endured, to always celebrate freedom and live fully. My birth was her triumph. She was not supposed to survive; I was not supposed to be born. We proved them wrong. We both won the day I was born.”

Angela Missoni

“Definitely my mother has been my inspiration, my mentor, and my most convinced supporter. I have learnt watching, then assisting her in her work for Missoni, since I was 18, but my fascination and curiosity for her taste and strength, her looks and personality, her will and skills started much earlier, day by day, growing at her side. From her I have learned the devotion to family and work, the respect and attachment to nature and the natural environment, to human relationships, and professional goals. . . beyond the love for fashion and the sense of beauty that she has always shown and that I always admired, I guess I have inherited something of her eye on things, of her practical sense, of her capacity to rapidly solve problems, to make decisions, and to find solutions. And, on top of all this, she has nourished my desire to be, like her, a good mother, making a family united by caring and loving a priority in life.”

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Michael Kors

“My mother always encouraged me to do what I love, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without her constant support. Her sense of style and sporty attitude have long inspired my design aesthetic.”

Jeremy Scott

“Growing up I had such a strong vision of what I wanted to wear, which was way far off from the norm and grew further from the norm as I grew. My mother was always my advocate and never batted an eyelash at the crazy concoctions I would show up with to wear to school. She acted like I was wearing jeans and a white tee, when in fact I was wearing skirts, platform shoes, and customized army surplus linings as jackets—on a casual day. When the school complained about my attire, my mother marched in to their offices and gave them a piece of her mind and shut them down.”

Brandon Maxwell

“Anyone who knows me knows that my mom has always been the love of my life and of my dedication to trying to create a world for women just like her. She informs every decision I make because she is the standard by which I measure all things good, and for me, she represents a shining example of what it means to be a woman and mother. I am often asked, ‘Who is the Brandon Maxwell woman?’ The answer always has been, and always will be, my mom.”

Gabriela Hearst

“My mother was about breaking every stereotype possible for what a woman should be or not. She competed in rodeos at age 18 and became a second danof tae kwon do in her thirties. She had four kids by then, became a Buddhist, and then broke the record of weightlifting in Uruguay for ages fifty and up. As mortifying as it was when I was growing up because I wanted a ‘normal’ mom, I had to become a woman to understand the gift she had given my sister and I: to pursue our passions no matter what other people think.”

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Sander Lak

“The name of our company Sies Marjan is taken from my father’s first name Sies and my mother’s first name Marjan, so her name is in the label. This doesn’t mean she is the inspiration, it stands more for this idea of where I come from, my parents. Having lived all around the world my whole life this idea of a home or home country is foreign to me and all I had for a long time was my family. They made wherever we were living in the world feel like home. My mom and I have a very strong bond and are very alike. I know she is very proud but she never holds back giving her (sometimes harsh) opinion about what we are making. And I love her for that!”


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