Designer profile: House of Missoni
Missoni: Sixtieth anniversary celebrations marred by tragedy...

Mar 18, 2013 01:58
by Angie Fox


Though 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the launch of iconic Italian fashion house Missoni, the January disappearance of CEO Vittorio Missoni, eldest son of Missoni founders Ottavio “Tai” and Rosita Missoni has held celebrations at bay.

A plane carrying Vittorio, his wife and other passengers went missing off the coast of Venezuela just prior to the debut of fall fashion collections in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Wreckage from the aircraft and luggage belonging to Missoni himself has been found floating near the coast of Curacao, however the passengers remain missing. The Missoni family hasn’t issued a statement on the matter since January 7.

While fashion pundits are questioning whether the Missoni empire can survive minus Vittorio, who managed the company’s commercial and manufacturing operations and was something of a marketing wunderkind, others are calling to mind the re-emergence the house of Versace as a fashion powerhouse following founder Gianni Versace’s tragic murder in 1997.

With their attractive Italian lineage spanning generations comparisons to American royalty the Kennedys also abound. For surviving siblings Angela and Luca, who along with Vittorio inherited the business from their parents in the 1990s, the show must simply go on. In February Angela Missoni debuted her fall ready to wear line showcasing kimono style tops and jackets, soft knit jacquard cardigans and body-con knit dresses with strategic cut-outs. Colour was muted but Missoni was clearly tapping into the fashion zeitgeist.

Founded in 1953 in Gallarate Italy, Missoni first presented in Milan in 1958 under the name Milano-Simpathy. In 1962 the Missonis discovered the repurposed Raschel machines that could create the zigzag pattern that became synonymous with the label. The Missoni influence reached its peak in the 1970s when their kaleidoscope of colours were zigzagged and striped across wools, rayons linens and silks and displayed on the bodies of celebrities, models and musicians.

Missoni experienced a renaissance in the late 1990s under Angela’s creative direction. Brand ambassador and “It Girl” Margherita Missoni – Angela’s daughter- helped to revive interest in the label amongst the next generation of fashion followers. Annual sales of the Milan based company are now estimated to be between $75 and $100 million.

Early this month Margherita announced she was pregnant with her first child, reminding us that not only does joy follow sorrow, but also that the Missoni label is likely to survive for decades to come.

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