ANGELA MISSONI: “I WANT MY WORK TO BE IN HARMONY WITH MY LOVE LIFE AND WITH MY FRIENDS!”
The Italian fashion house “Missoni” is created in the city Gallarate (in the province of Varese) in 1953 by Otavio and Rosita Missoni. In the beginning family Missoni sells knitwear, produced from different fashion designers. Its first collection for the stores “Rinascente” the house offers in 1954. As a brand “Missoni” is launched in 1958. Gradually it wins recognition as a high-quality producer of sweaters, vests, jackets, suits, dresses, shawls etc. For innovation in 1973 the house receives its first American award “Neeman Marcus”. Its first fashion-shows in Paris and in New York the fashion house makes respectively in 1967 and in 1968. The award for cloth of the year from the Museum of the fashion, the house receives in Bat (1974). It is classed among the ten best design brands from magazine “Vogue” (1975). In 1976 the house opens its first boutiques in Milan and in New York. It puts on the market its own perfumes (1981), men’s and sports lines (1985). In 1997 chief designer of the fashion house becomes the daughter of Otavio and Rosita – Angela Missoni. It is launched a new line clothes for women and for men “М Missoni” (1998). Rosita and Otavio Missoni receive honorable PHD degree of the London College “Central Saint Martins” (1999). Later is organized a retrospective fashion-show in Cairo (2004). In 2005 “Estée Lauder” together with “Missoni” license common perfume “Missoni”. It is concluded an agreement between “Missoni” and “Group CWF” for design, making and distribution of the children’s line of the brand (2006).
Fashion house “Missoni” is not an empty myth for fast and sure success in the fashion business; neither is it artificially imposed by the media fashion emblem! The half-century success of “Missoni” is a result of a perfectly developed family business, creative inventiveness, design heuristics and a scent, sharp scent for the market situations and for the market niches. What is the history of the legendary fashion central? Thanks to what the knitted sweaters with its name today are showed as expensive exponents in famous museums? Is it really the knitwear among the best achievements of the world fashion? Who are the most important instruments for the success of “Missoni”?...
OTAVIO AND ROSITA MISSONI
The life of Otavio (Tai) and Rosita Missoni is an example for happy coincidence of professional and family interests, big love and good luck. Before they unite their destinies both of them have comparatively good business basis. Otavio – active sportsman on his youth – starts later to occupy with production of sports clothes and especially – of woolen training suits. The Italian Olympian players from 1948 participate with his training suits. Than in this initiative participates a friend of Tai. It is very interesting the origin of Otavio Missoni. His aristocratic lineage (a child of a countess) and the adventurous beginning (a son of the captain of the fleet) trace his road of a brave, enterprising and together with this – stylish and insisting on the high culture, businessman and fashion creator. His future wife Rosita (née Jelmini) has ambitions in the philology and the linguistics (her passion are the foreign languages) and leaved to a legacy enterprise for making of shawls and sleeping belongings. Both of them get married in 1953 in the small Italian city Gallarate. Their big desert is that meeting each other emotionally and professionally, they understand the unused possibilities that the knitting offer. Like Coco Chanel, Luciano Benetton, Sonia Rykiel etc, Missoni wake up to the big perspectives towards the knitwear industry, including regarding the aesthetics of the design, the elegance and the representativeness of this type clothes. The married couple decides to diversify the genre experimenting with the colors, with the forms, with the patterns and they discover the magic of the colorist zigzag in the knitting. Their inspiration comes from the ethnical clothes in India, Latin America, Africa etc, as from the fashion modifications and tendencies in the contemporary art as for example art deco, op art etc. Just the tenacity and their liberal approach to the ancient cultures help them in the forming of a style that transforms instantly in distinguished sign of quality and elegance. Tai and Rosita Missoni impose a new fashion in the knitwear – not only the horizontal, but also the vertical, and the diagonal color stripes, launched powerfully from them show the unusual resources of the knitting. But “Missoni” show courage not only in the construction and in the patterns, but also in the ways of presenting of the new collections. Many people still remember the furious scandal that flares up after one unexpected staging decision of Rosita Missoni. The year is 1967, the place – “Palazzo Pitti” in Florence, and the occasion – the performance haute couture of “Missoni”. The collection surprises everybody with the enormous dozes of sex-appeal and eroticism, because just before the showing of the models at the stage Rosita Missoni decides that the models will be without underwear (during a rehearsal she noticed that at the turning of the searchlights it doesn’t suit well). The organizers are angry from this “self-will” and from the indecent “drastic nakedness”. In a result the next year “Missoni” is absent from the defiles in Florence (or rather they are not invited to be present), but in return it has already won the glory of a brand that is original and rock-steady to the conservative rules.
Their sense of the huge potential of the knitwear, of the diversity of shapes and colors and of its undoubted advantages as comfort, functionality and universality both founders of the company pass to their three children – the daughter Angela and the sons Vittorio and Luca. Later they – every in his own way, will develop their parental inventiveness and talent. Angela, after she successfully develops her own line, will take the creative management of the house in the end of the 90s, Vittorio – the management of the market, the market respects, the development of new boutiques and as a whole the enlargement of the store net, and Luca – the design of the men’s clothing and the development of the interior textile design. Tai and Rosita Missoni educate their children not only in the spirit of diligence, tenacity, but also in the spirit of realism, learning them to have both their feet on the ground. After years a testimonial is the reflection of Angela Missoni who says that the best lesson of her father is his words:”Why you have to earn more money, if you don’t have time to spend them?”...
Thanks to the family and to the lineal initiativeness returns the interest not only of Italy, but of the whole world to the knitwear – the knitted topcoats, trousers, sweaters and vests. We remember that the knitting obtained once wide popularity in the 20s, but the interest to them had strongly flag in the next decades and especially in the Second World War. At family Missoni are attributed many deserts, but one of the most important is that thanks to them the Italian fashion steps with confidence at the world stage, and Milan more categorically makes public its ambitions for planetary capital of the fashion. During the years “Missoni” obtains the popularity of a house that makes wonderful scenic costumes (for example for the Milan “La Scala”), as clothing for show programs, concerts and choreographic spectacles.
HOW THE KNITWEAR BECAME AN ART?
In the creative work of every designer inevitably arise the dilemmas aesthetics – business and art – commerciality. Among the highest recognitions for Otavio and Rosita Missoni are the words that thanks to them the knitting from the most ordinary clothes transformed in drawings, in bright works of art. These and similar evaluations belong to some of the most significant connoisseurs of the style like Diana Vreeland, Richard Martin, Elsa Klench, Bernadine Morris, Suzy Menkes and a number of others curators, critics and journalists. An undoubted contribution to the world glory of “Missoni” has the editor-in-chief of the American “Vogue” at that time Diana Vreeland that takes them under her protection and launches them to readers, clients and business partners. To her belong the emblematic words, pronounced during her meeting with Otavio and Rosita in the Roman grand hotel in 1969:”Who says that exist only colors? There are nuances!”, referring to the unusual color richness, the shades and diversity in the works of “Missoni”. Ten years later in “New York Times” is published the enthusiastic article of Bernadine Morris with title “The dresses of Missoni: for luck at the opening of the fashion-show spectacles in Milan”. In the article she develops her thesis that the fashion house transforms the ordinary knitting in works of art. The final of this important article reads as follows:”With right the audience raised to feet in honor of “Missoni”. They transformed one industrial city in fashion center. When some years ago they decided to present their collection in Milan, for center of the fashion was considered Florence and Rome. However, today the buyers from Austria to Japan define Milan as the European Mecca of the fashion that takes second place right after Paris”. Dozens of years after the publishing of this article we are witnesses that the style of “Missoni” continue to conquer and to influence positively, because like the art it unchains the imagination with its imagery, floweriness and originality. Their clothes bring joy, provoke emotions and give real pleasure not only to the body, but also to the spirit.
The calendar of the successes of the famous fashion house is full with bright events, celebrations and signs of highest recognition from world colleges and museums, non-governmental organizations and professional partnerships. One of the notable years is 2003, when are remarked most festively the fifty years from the beginning of the business of “Missoni”. The fashion house remarks on its merits the jubilee presenting at the audience a retrospective collection with more than 100 clothes, conceptually selected during their whole period of development at the method of the unity between the tradition, the historical succession and the fashion innovation. The same year in the authoritative newspaper “International Herald Tribune” Suzy Menkes notices:”The loved “Missoni” are an ideal for the Italian fashion: one big family in the hands of magician”! During the Milan week of the fashion Otavio and Rosita Missoni receive one of their most expensive awards – golden prize in sign of recognition, friendship and love from the people from Milan, bestowed on them from the management of the municipality in the Italian city. The fashion house is recognized not only in the circle of the design, but in the circle of the furniture textile. Its factory for furniture and interior sets is a bearer of the award for the best textile design of the British magazine “El Decoration” (2003).
FRESH AND NATURAL ELEGANCE
The standing at the head of the fashion house from the only daughter in the family Angela Missoni in 1997 becomes natural and logical. Till then she had also worked for the family house and she was the right hand of Rosita Missoni. But now it is given to her the opportunity to impose in the whole family fashion business her understanding about beauty, practice and elegance. A guarantee for the creative and financial success of the company is the succession and the innovation that are the keys to the success of Angela Missoni. From one side she keeps the characteristic for the brand zigzag patterns, the impressive stripes and effective patchwork, but from the other she succeeds to import fresh accents in the knitwear and more bravely to radicalize the cut and the silhouette. As the experts notice, she keeps the presence of the ancient Greek motives, of the colors that are so typical for the classic Italian mosaic, but together with this she continue to develop the style to a bigger dynamics, diversity and challenge.
Sources of inspiration of the designer become the fairy storylines, the romantic influences, the drawings of Picasso, the art nouveau and a number of other aesthetical, natural and culture influences. Angela is able to inspire from the little things when she travels, when she walks in the streets or when she turns over the pages of a book. An impulse for work she can receive from the picture gallery or from the scenic performance. But undoubtedly the biggest inspiration for her present the works of art of her parents, their professional archive, as their rich, worth-while, triumphant life. These and a number of other particularities become clear in sincere interview that she gives very soon. At the question who had exercised a biggest influence on her career, she answers:”At first place this is my mother, because I had learned so many things from her. But definitely I had kept my personal handwriting in the work”. The designer is categorical that the most characteristic for the design with the brand “Missoni” is the harmonious combination of the colors. Her principal aim is to make her works of art in this way that they have to contain a sense of comfort and a feeling of freedom. And still the most important in the design of “Missoni” is to be original and unique:”The uniqueness is more beautiful from the “perfect” beauty”, shares she in front of journalists. Angela insists her work to be in harmony with her love life and with the shared friendship and as she shares – all the things in her life are united in one: passion, love, life, children and profession.
Part of the common aesthetics and philosophy of her creative we found in her explanations for her collection autumn-winter 2006-2007. There she accentuates on the cashmere capes with different lengths and advises the women to wear big loose knitted sweaters in combination with jeans and t-shirts. The designer confesses that she never separates with her universal big cashmere shawl. The mixture of the volumes and the diversity of tunics to blouses through tight trousers also are included in one of her last messages to audience and buyers. Asked how she will draw the woman, dressed in the style “Missoni”, Angela without hesitation affirms:”This is the woman with youth spirit and fresh, natural elegance”! In her proposals for the autumn and the winter of 2008-2009 „Missoni” continues to maintain her aesthetics about the conservative chic, accentuating on materials as the two-faced cashmere and the flannel textiles, the tuid and the leather. Special accents are put on the wearing of poncho and of trousers. „The fashion house, recognized as great in the knitting has kept in minimum way the bright in the fiery, knitted lining of the coat and in the suitable for it dress or in the mossy knitted sweater, combined with masterly made trousers. In the moment, when the possibilities of the knitting inspire the young designers and the thick knitted sweaters become a leading tendency, the conservative chic in some way mutes the feeling that Missoni is the leading light in the knitting circle” – writes Sarah Mauer in her reportage about the fashion-show of „Missoni” in February 2008 in Milan.
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The clothing with the brand “Missoni” in the whole world is a password for good taste, refinement, sense for contemporary beauty and elegance. The original technology for creating of the textile and of the clothes, the famous zigzag materials, the stripes and the abundance of shades privilege the fashion house as emblematic brand for originality, modernity and functionality. It is not chance that among the admirers of “Missoni” was the genius Italian tenor – Luciano Pavarotti. It is not chance that clothes of “Missoni” wear Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and other famous men from the big screen. It is not chance that among the devoted admirers of the brand are cinema stars like Angelina Jolly, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Halle Berry, Mischa Barton, as the actress and singer Mandy Moore. They are nothing but men and women with refined taste and ultimate criteria for their appearance. ”Missoni” is really a trade mark for fashion success, for happy family business and for fateful crossing between the tradition, the succession and the innovation.
In the article are used the following sources:
Ermilova, D.U. Istoria domov modu, “Academia”.Moscow, 2003; Fashion dictionary. Baldini Castroldi Dalai editore, Inc., New York, 2006; Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005; De grote Mode-Encyclopedie.Éditions - Nathan. Paris, France,1989; Martin, R.The St.James Fashion Encyclopedia:A Survey of Style from 1945 to the Present.Visible Ink Press. Detroit,1997; McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000; Reuters Television News; Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann,2000,Cologne; Internet източници : http://www.glam.com/ , http://www.fashionwindows.com/runway_shows/missoni/default.asp и др.
1. Rosita Missoni
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann,2000,Cologne, p.528
2. “ Missoni”, collection 1971
Photo: © McDowell, C. Fashion today. Phaidon Press Limited. London, 2000, р. 329.
3. Work of art of “Missoni” – 80s.
Photo: © De grote Mode-Encyclopedie.Éditions - Nathan. Paris, France,1989, p.148.
4. Sketch of Antonio for the advertising campaign of “Missoni” in 1983
Photo: © Ermilova, D.U. Istoria domov modu, “Academia”.Moscow, 2003, p. 213.
5. “ Missoni”, collection spring-summer 1993.
Photo: © Vogue März 1993 (Germany), p. 181
6. “ Missoni”, collection autumn-winter 1996 - 1997.
Photo: © Maria Testino / Vogue (USA) October 1996, p. 141
7.- 9. “ Missoni” – collections 1997 – 1998.
Photo: © Seeling, Ch. Fashion. The century of the designer 1900 – 1999. Konёmann,2000,Cologne, p.528
10. Angela Missoni
Photo: © Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, p.334
11. Angela Missoni for “Missoni”
Photo: © Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, p.335
12. Angela Missoni for “Missoni”
Photo: © Paul Wetherell / Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, p.336
13. Angela Missoni for “Missoni”, autumn-winter 2002-2003.
Photo: © Fashion now. i-D selects the world’s 150 most important designers. Edited by Terry Jones & Avril Mair. – Köln: Taschen, 2005, p.337
14. and 15. Angela Missoni for “Missoni”, spring-summer 2007
Photo: © Photo by Giovanni Pucci / FashionWindows.com,Inc.
16. and 17. Angela Missoni for “Missoni”, autumn-winter 2007-2008
Photo: © Photo by Giovanni Pucci / FashionWindows.com,Inc.
18. Collection “Missoni”, spring-summer 2008
Photo: © frillr.com
19. and 20. Collection „Missoni”, autumn-winter 2008-2009
Photo: © Missoni
21. Collection „Missoni”, autumn-winter 2008-2009
Photo: © Missoni
Fashion-show of „Missoni”, autumn-winter 2008-2009 and interview with Angela Missoni
MISSONI spring-summer 2008 fashion weeks - MILAN
Eye on Missoni FW08-09
Missoni Marni Mens FW 2008-09 Interview
Missoni M S/S 09
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