The Journey of Missoni

Last Sunday afternoon, January 18, I had the chance to participate in Missoni Men FW 2015/16 Fashion Show, within Milano Men Fashion Week. The rich heritage and the visual and emotional background beneath the show led me to dedicate this post to the world of Missoni.

One of the few Italian fashion brands that haven’t been bought by big luxury conglomerates, Missoni Spa is still private and family owned, with the headquarter based in Sumirago (50 km far from Milano) since 1969 as well as the historical looms that still produce exclusively for the brand the most exquisite of its textiles.

The company was founded in 1953 when Ottavio and Rosita –who shared the same passion for knitwear and a common weaving background- with only 4 workers, started to create clothes.

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Since the very beginning they were very innovative: for the first time they used the Rachel sewing machine for clothes (at the time it was only used for shawls) and focused on pattern, breaking with all standard and fixed schemes. Although the machines were very simple and could only create lines, they tried any kind of lines, vertical, horizontal and diagonal ones.

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The clothes were thus extremely colorful and light. From “MilanoSympathy” the first collection of colorful lines dresses with Missoni label that appeared in Rinascente in 1958 and the first fashion show in 1966, the success of the brand was unrestrainable. As the textile machines were improved in the 70s, Missoni’s patterns became more complex and free, going beyond all graphic boring rules in both women’s and menswear. Passing through the famous zig-zag, and the “scozzese” (that combined both horizontal and vertical lines) Missoni paved its success in Milan, Florence, Rome, London, Paris, Tokio and New York.

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USA were crazy about what they called “put together” (horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, the scozzese and some prints). Missoni in the US  The coloured patchwork inserts presented by Ottavio in a total look collection were considered works of art. From then on, exibitihions, books, international awards celebrated the success of Missoni.

Twenty years ago Ottavio and Rosita passed the helm of the company to their three children, Vittorio, Luca and Angela (in the order as CEO and executive marketing, creative director and artistic, archive and special project director). Angela had the big task to turn Missoni from a company known for zigzag sweaters into a global fashion brand. And she did it. Despite everything. Despite last year tragic events (the annus horribilis that saw the disappearance of Vittorio in a plane mishup in Los Roques and the death of Ottavio in the following May) the prodigious journey of Missoni is keep on going.

To give some economic insights, the Company closed the year 2013 with a wholesale  turnover of 170 millions, 70 millions from Missoni Spa (which includes the first lines for man and woman, beachwear and baby-girl) ebitda around 12% and 3% net profit.

Last January, during the Paris Haute Couture, Missoni has inaugurated the 300 square meters new flagship store in Paris, in 219 Rue St. Honoré.

Missoni’s heritage, imaginery and creativity are still perfectly mixed.

The color are all alive. The magic is still melodius, subtle and vibrant. The sound is fascinating now as always and more than ever. I saw this intangible magic show last week. On himalayan carpets, damned poets and all kind of artists, were telling a charming story. The story of Missoni, consistent and at the same time full of new and vivid hints. Double breasted knitted coats, romantic totes, cardigans and sweaters with shawl collars, heavy cashmere and silk, wool felt and angora, boots in suede or the sporty silk ones (creaeted in collaboration with Converse) and here and there wise floral embroidery appeared, as in the most amazing asiatic traditions, were dressing the models. Charming traveler coming back or maybe heading to Russia, Mongolia or China, looking for new adventures and discoveries. And who knows that the brand won’t follow the same direction as its traveling artist, betting on China, as it was in Vittorio’s project… Let’s see!!

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Good Luck Missoni, keep on dreaming!

好幸运米索尼, 梦想下去!

Bianca

photo credits: http://static.stylosophy.it/stwww/fotogallery/625X0/134277/i-tessuti-missoni.jpg; https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/3a/43/72/3a4372f13d640adcbaf609141a6a388e.jpg; http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-23-1185-1198-view-sportwear-chic-profile-missoni-3.html;  http://www.missoni.com/experience/it/pages/collections/; http://appuntidimoda.zalando.it/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/All-right-reserved-by-pipersquilts-adm.jpg; http://www.corriereadriatico.it/SPETTACOLI/ottavio_missoni_morto/notizie/277878.shtml.

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