18 FEBRUARY 2009

Margherita Missoni, of the famed Milanese fashion family, was the star attraction when she helped Venice's annual carnival get under way.

The glamorous 25-year-old - who is an ambassador for the clan's distinctive knitwear brand - thrilled crowds when she enacted the Flight of the Angel, the traditional start to two weeks of colourful festivities.

Hanging from a cable tied to the bell tower at St Mark's Square and wearing a billowing Missoni-designed dress and angel wings, the fashion heiress saluted the 100,000 revellers who'd gathered in the piazza below.

The custom, which dates back to the 18th-century, gets underway the extravanganza which will take over the Italian city in the run-up to Ash Wednesday.

Photo: Rex
This year the Flight of the Angel - as the traditional start to carnival is known in Venice - was performed by the heiress to the Missoni fashion family
Photo: Rex
Margherita wore a dress and wings specially created for the event by the clan's firm
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