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The Interview | The Magic of Monnalisa

Mother-and-daughter design duo Barbara Bertocci and Diletta Iacomoni are the creative brains behind much-loved Italian children’s brand Monnalisa. Working together as creative director and fashion coodinator, they produce beautifully designed clothes for babies up to teenagers. Diletta is particularly proud of their teen offering, explaining, “The most interesting challenge I set for myself is to win over this bracket with bold and contemporary outfits that represent generation Z.” Judging by her favourite plaid maxi coat in this category, we'd say mission accomplished.

This season feels incredibly special for Monnalisa, not only for the brand's bright pops of colour and exquisite occasionwear but because, in a return to pre-lockdown form, this is the first collection to be showcased in a spectacular catwalk presentation for three years. With the runway teeming with excited and stylishly dressed children, Barbara and Diletta showed off the brand’s stunning autumn/winter 2023 designs to rapturous applause. We caught up with the pair about working with family, where they find their inspiration and what makes their style so innately Italian.

18 Sep 2023

A Family Business

Tell us all about the Monnalisa family. Does your mother–daughter dynamic influence the way you work?


Diletta Iacomoni: Monnalisa was founded in 1968 as a small artisan company, based on an idea of my father, Piero Iacomoni. It was already ambitious in its name, that of the Italian masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. A few years later, the person in charge of design left to have a much longed for baby and my mother took over. She was very young with two children, but had an incredible creative energy, which is in her family DNA. I assisted her as a little girl and after art school. Since then, we have worked as a team. My mum had me when she was 19 and the few years between us helped us to experience a sort of sisterhood and harmony. We have not experienced any generational clashes!


Barbara Bertocci: I agree. We've always had so many things in common: art, fashion and a huge emphasis on centring our world around family, something I instilled in both of my children. Working with Diletta was simple because we complement each other. I'm a reserved, disciplined, intimist. She is open, effervescent and very empathic in managing our large team of 30 people who share this wonderful work with us, who are the heart of Monnalisa: designers, seamstresses, prototype makers — all extremely talented people.

Beautiful Occasionwear

Monnalisa covers every aspect of a child's wardrobe but they are particularly known for their stunning dresses and party accessories.

Monnalisa - Girls Metallic Pink Bow Handbag (19cm) | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa Chic - Girls Blue Cotton & Tulle Ruffle Dress | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Monnalisa - Girls Pink Crystal Hairband | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls White Patent Leather Heeled Shoes | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa Chic - Girls Pink Velvet Rose Hairband | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Monnalisa Chic - Girls Glittery Pink Tulle Ruffle Dress | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Monnalisa Couture - Girls Ivory Diamanté Handbag (18cm) | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Couture



Monnalisa Chic - Teen Girls Pink Floral Cotton Trousers | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Finding Inspiration

How do you set about creating a collection?


Diletta Iacomoni: The creative process begins with research. We live a very full life that gives us continuous inspiration for generating ideas. In particular, I spend a lot of time with my three children, two of whom are already grown up and have interests in both graphics and music and keep me up to date on contemporary trends. And then of course, I travel, I watch fashion shows, look through magazines and follow fashion trends with inexhaustible interest and curiosity.


Barbara Bertocci: The creative process is a combination of talents. In our team, everyone's contribution is important. I encourage everyone to spark their creativity, and I too work like this and live my life with constant curiosity. An exhibition, a trip, a view, an experience: anything can help generate ideas. Ideas that then materialise into a collection, with a lot of work, effort and discipline.


How do you relax as a family together? Do you talk about clothes all the time, or do you manage to take some time off?


Barbara Bertocci: One important rule is to find a balance between your home life and that of work. I have the great privilege of living close to my children and grandchildren. We see each other often, especially for lunch on the weekend. We do simple but very nourishing things for the spirit: we chat, cook, play cards, attend festivals, go for walks and tend the garden together.


Diletta Iacomoni: We only talk about work and, above all, work problems when we are at Monnalisa. We work a lot, so in our spare time the care and attention we devote to ourselves and the children is everything. I think it's nice for my kids to live near their grandparents. They have been a very close-knit couple for 50 years. They are an extraordinary example for all of us.

"I travel, I watch fashion shows and follow fashion trends with inexhaustible interest and curiosity."

Diletta Iacomoni

Chic Casuals

Monnalisa's beautifully made casual wear has something for everyone this season from puffer coats to chunky knits and rainbow bright colour.

Monnalisa - Girls Pink & Ivory Bow Print Puffer Coat | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Orange & Gold Knitted Gloves | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls White & Pink Floral Cotton Leggings | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Knitted Ivory Beanie Hat | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Blue Tulle Ruffle Denim Jacket | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Teen Girls White Floral Cotton Skirt | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Blue Denim Jeans | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls White Floral Cotton Ruffle T-Shirt | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Italian Style

What was the inspiration behind the AW23 collection?


Diletta Iacomoni: In the autumn/winter collection, we played with a very contemporary styling. Short Spencer jackets, midi skirts, cut-outs. All very bold, but with lurex threads and silver bows that recall the romantic soul of our collection.


Barbara Bertocci: The trends that inspired us are dye-effect prints, Pantone colours such as Very Peri, botanical green, orange, and reinterpreted cargo trousers. We always focus a lot on prints, from Toile de Jouy to floral, which are to some extent our signature style.


Was it exciting to present a big catwalk show after a long hiatus? What was the highlight for you?


Barbara Bertocci: It is very important for us to experience the vibrations of a fashion show after six months of hard work. Feeling the emotions of over 100 small models and the excitement of an audience of over 800 people, was enormously gratifying — a testing ground of the excellence of our ideas and of the manufacturing quality.


Diletta Iacomoni: I believe that our fashion shows are very important moments that we share with our audience — journalists, insiders, customers, influencers — and that they help interpret the success the collection will meet on the market. Their palpable emotion rewards every effort and every exertion.


What makes your brand intrinsically Italian in a design sense?


Barbara Bertocci: The obstinate search for beauty and quality.


Diletta Iacomoni: I believe that our contemporary romantic style is an expression of our search for beauty, which is in our country’s DNA.

"What makes our brand intrinsically Italian in design? The obstinate search for beauty and quality."

 Barbara Bertocci

Accent Accessories

This winter, Monnalisa have outdone themselves with the cosiest hats, scarves and mittens and vibrant bags that grown-ups will want to steal.

Monnalisa Chic - Girls Purple Diamanté Handbag (19cm) | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Monnalisa - Teen Girls Blue Denim & Diamanté Sandals | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Ivory & White Flowers Hairband | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Beige Borg Bucket Hat | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Lilac-Pink Tulle Hairband | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa - Girls Purple Flower Sunglasses  | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Monnalisa Chic - Girls White & Silver Crystal Hairband | ChildrensalonMonnalisa Chic



Monnalisa - Girls Silver & Pink Ruffle Flip Flops | ChildrensalonMonnalisa



Images courtesy of Monnalisa and Pitti Bimbo

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