M Missoni

About the brand...

Missoni represents a unique style in ready-to-wear knit classics. What started off as a tiny workshop belonging to a newly-wed couple has become the leading trend-setter for knitwear in the world. Rosita Jelmini was born in 1932 near Varese, the daughter of a mill owner, and studied languages. She was sent to London to improve her English. Ottavio (known to everybody as Tai) was born in 1921 in Dalmatia and brought up in Trieste. In the late 1940s he was producing track suits with a friend to be worn by the Italian national team at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Rosita who had gone to watch the games saw Tai run as a finalist in the 400 meters obstacle course and decided that he would become her husband. Five years later they were married and had set up a small workshop in order to make a living. They soon moved on to knitwear from track suits.

Their first big break came in 1964 when they met designer Emmanuelle Kahn and decided to make a knitwear collection together which they showed in Milan two years later; then in 1967 came their second break, when they presented their collection at Palazzo Pitti. They became world-famous, or, rather, infamous, because Rosita, making a last-minute decision, told the models to take off their bras because they ruined the lines of the black silk jersey dresses they were to model on the catwalk. Missoni didn't realize that under Pitti's blazing lights the tops of the dresses would become transparent, the fashion world was shocked, and they made headlines around the world.

Ottavio and Rosita like to be called artisans because they developed their business by dreaming up colorful designs, mostly influenced by folk art. First they started with stripes, the easiest design. Today Missoni employs around 200 people at their Sumirago headquarters in the province of Varese. They use up to twenty different fabrics, including wool, cotton, linen, rayon and silk and some 40 different colors for each of their collections. Their clothes range from sweaters to skirts, dresses and jackets. Ottavio Missoni has also diversified from clothes to tapestries and carpets. In spite of their rapid expansion and their growing international sales, the Missonis have kept their traditional ideas and maintained quality an important priority. Ottavio and Rosita have three children who have all joined the family business. With advent of computer technology who knows what the younger Missoni generation has in store for the future...

Designer > M Missoni

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