Margherita and Angela Missoni in campaignFears are growing for the safety of Vittorio Missoni, head of the family-owned Missoni fashion house. Vittorio, whose father founded the Missoni label, was travelling in a light aircraft which disappeared off the coast of Venezuela on Friday. A search for the small plane which was carrying six people on board was stepped up on Sunday but so far there has been no sign of Vittorio, his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, two Italian friends, and two Venezuelan pilots.

Although the aircraft is yet to be found, Vittoria's sister Angela Missoni (pictured with her daughter Margherita, right, for a Missoni campaign) told Italy's La Repubblica: "Our hope is that he is still alive ... We want to hope, because for us it is important."

Angela was on holiday with her parents, Rosita and Ottavio, when they first heard the terrible news. The Telegraph reported:

Miss Missoni said she told her mother immediately, and called Italian diplomatic authorities to activate search efforts. The two decided to tell the elder patriarch Ottavio Missoni only the following morning.

"We decided to let him rest, he was very tired," Miss Missoni was quoted saying in La Repubblica. "When, at 5.30 in the morning he saw us all standing and he looked at our faces and said 'what happened? I am 92, but I'm not stupid'. And so we told him the truth."

Messages of support and prayers for the Missoni family continue to pour in to the company website. Simultaneously news reports have been speculating on the safety of the twin-engine Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft, which has been deemed too old by some. To date the Aviation Safety Network has recorded 249 incidents involving the Islander since it launched in 1965.

Vittorio has been actively involved in the Missoni fashion house since the 1980s. According to WWD, he played an "instrumental role" in the global expansion of the brand which is designed by Angela. "In particular, last year, he set in motion plans to develop the Chinese market in 2013, after having built the label in established countries, as well as in emerging ones, such as the Middle East," reports WWD.

The Missoni family have requested that the public and press respect their right to privacy. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.

Source: The Cut