Awards: Neiman Marcus Award, 1973
Bath American Printed Fabric Council Tommy Award, 1974 Gold Metal of Civic Merit Award, Milan, 1979 Fragrance Foundation Award, 1982 Arancia Award, given to Tai Missoni, 1986
Commendatore al Merito Della Repubblica Italiana, Rosita Missoni, 1986
Fashion Group International Design Award, 1991 Munich Mode-Woche Award, 1992
In 1946 Ottavio Missoni and Rosita (Jelmini) Missoni started a manufacturing business focusing on knitwear apparel. The couple met in London during the 1948 Olympics where Ottavio was a finalist in the track and field competition. Ottavio and Rosita had three children—Vittorio, Luca, and Angela—all of whom are today involved in the family business.
The company's first collection appeared in the Rinascente Stores in 1954 featuring knit active wear. The Missoni label appeared four years later in 1958, when they introduced a striped knit shirtdress that paved the way for sportswear design. Ottavio's use of rich, blended colors and interesting patterns, for example, stripes, zigzags, waves, and patchworks, made the Missoni product so unique that it was perceived as a piece of art.
Missoni's grand debut was in Paris in 1967. Their introduction to the American market took place in New York in 1969. Missoni received a tremendous amount of international attention for unique signature looks, which consisted of knit dresses, sweaters, coats, and skirts for women and men. This global recognition allowed Missoni to open their first boutiques in Milan and New York in 1976. The 1970s and 1980s were so successful for Missoni that the company expanded into a fragrance line in 1981, Missoni Sport and the Missoni Uomo in 1985, manufactured under the license by Malerba, and Example Missoni, a men's bridge line, manufactured by Marzotto.
In 1997 Rosita Missoni appointed daughter Angela as creative director of the company. Ottavio continued his involvement in textile design but reduced his other responsibilities. Angela's first goal was to review the Mis-soni customer, whom she considered to be vibrant and uninhibited. Next, she updated the previously classic line to a modern, sleek appearance developing silhouettes which were more form fitting.
In 1999 Missoni launched a new bridge collection for men and women called Missoni M. The line, targeted to customers between the ages of twenty and forty-five, is manufactured and distributed under license by Marzotto. Missoni also expanded to include a line of footwear by Vicini, and fine machine and handmade contemporary rugs manufactured by Roubini, Inc.
Ottavio's knowledge of intricate knitwear allowed him to fill a market niche that was not being pursued by any other knitwear company. The company's vibrant colors and unusual, complicated patterns set a new standard for knitwear design in the apparel industry. Furthermore, Missoni's application of sophisticated knitting equipment and computer technology is responsible for its ability to produce knitwear as fine pieces of art.
Was this article helpful?
Rock your personality in a dress you made yourself that reflects who you are, not what a department store thinks you want. Discover The Beginners Guide to Making Your Own Dress. You do not have to wear off the rack dresses any longer. You can make your own fashion statement on the world.