The Origins of The Iconic Missoni Knit | E-SCARVES

The Origins of The Iconic Missoni Knit

Missoni Collection Fall 2009

There are a few things in the world of fashion that are like a common currency among true enthusiasts, and among them is the classic Missoni knit scarf. With its unmistakable chevron print and multicoloured weave, the Missoni scarf has come to represent the rich history that is associated with the Italian design house. Curious about how this classic icon of the scarf world came about, we decided to take a closer look at the history of the company behind the iconic Missoni scarf.

The Missoni knitwear company was founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953 in Gallarete, Italy. They enjoyed quite fast success, showing their first collection in Milan under the Missoni label in 1958. By 1960, the Missonis were expanding their collection of bedspreads and shawls into sweaters and dresses, and enjoying steady success. Interestingly, they were still using the original sewing machines that they had in their workshops – one that was originally intended for making only shawls and bedspreads. These machines were partly responsible for creating the streaky, space-dyed effect that has come to be a hallmark of the Missoni name.

Ottavio and Rosita Missoni designed as a couple, with Rosita coming up with inspiration and creative ideas and Ottavio plotting the designs onto graph paper and mapping out the shapes to come up with the combinations that have come to be associated with the Missoni name. Ottavio Missoni was once quoted as saying that he loved to create a chaotic kind of harmony in their designs by purposely adding a third colour to tie-together two clashing ones.

During the 1960s, they were championed by the famous American Vogue editor and tastemaker Diana Vreeland, and with her support, a Missoni boutique was opened at Bloomingdales, allowing the Missoni name to spread freely within the U.S. Missoni enjoyed an extra surge of popularity during the 1970s, when knitwear dresses and pantsuits were very much in vogue.

During the 1980s, the Missoni design house went through a bit of a reinvention. They launched a fragrance, expanded into a line of products for home decorating, and even took on commissions to design the interior of Fiat and Mazada automobiles with their iconic colorful chevron patterns.

The Missoni fashion house was taken over by Ottavio and Rosita's daughter Angela Missoni in 1990. Under Angela, Missoni staged a very popular capsule collection with U.S. discount retailer Target; it sold-out in under 24 hours. The company has since taken on Rossella Jardini, the former creative director of Italian brand Moschino, as their creative director. Missoni has also brought their brand into the modern sphere by adding touches of denim, some abstract floral prints, and continuing to branch out the collections within the brand such as M Missoni and Missoni Sport. As for the future, as the Missoni website itself will tell you, the Missoni design house continues to strive to live up to its reputation as one of the finest representatives of Italian design and fashion in the world.

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