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High-profile fashion CEO on missing plane in Venezuela

Vittorio Missoni, right, and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, pictured in Milan in 2005. The couple were in a plane that has gone missing off the Venezuelan coast. Picture: Livio Valerio

Vittorio Missoni, right, and his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, pictured in Milan in 2005. The couple were in a plane that has gone missing off the Venezuelan coast. Picture: Livio Valerio

(CNN) — A small plane carrying six people, one of them Vittorio Missoni, a director of Italy’s famed Missoni fashion house, is missing off the coast of Venezuela, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol Torres said.

The search for the missing aircraft continued Saturday, an Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Missoni confirmed in a statement that Vittorio Missoni, son of fashion house founders Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, was on the plane with his wife.

“The small plane they were traveling on has disappeared. This is all the information currently available,” the company statement said.

Vittorio Missoni, 58, runs the company with his siblings, Luca and Angela.

The plane was carrying four Italian nationals who were on vacation, Reverol said in a statement Friday. The Venezuelan Interior Ministry identified the two other Italians as Guido Foresti and Elda Scalveuzi. A pilot and co-pilot also were on board.

The plane left Los Roques, an archipelago and resort, Friday morning bound for the international airport outside Caracas, about 90 miles away, Reverol said.

Italian authorities are in touch with their Venezuelan counterparts and the families of those missing, said a spokesman in the Italian Foreign Ministry’s media office.

The ministry called on the Venezuelan authorities to do all they can to locate the missing plane and those on board, he said.

Missoni, which boasts such celebrity clients as Katie Holmes, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, is a high-end fashion label known for its patterned knitwear and signature zigzag stripe.

The private company, based in Milan, has estimated annual sales of between $75 million and $100 million.

The brand, first created in 1953 as a knitwear workshop in Gallarte, Italy, has gone on to expand from apparel to housewares, a fragrance line and a chain of hotels.

Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief of W magazine, called the Missonis “one of the most important Italian fashion families,” crediting their move to Milan in the late 1960s with helping make the northern Italian city the fashion hub it is today.

Vittorio Missoni and his siblings took over the brand in 1996 with an eye toward marketing to a younger consumer.

The fashion house partnered with Target in 2011 to produce a more budget-friendly collection for the discount retailer, which prompted Target’s website to crash due to the high demand.

CNN’s Susannah Palk and Laura Smith-Spark reported from London, and Sarah Aarthun, Alexander Hunter, Mitra Mobasherat, Chandrika Lakshminarayan and Esprit Smith from Atlanta.

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