Ottavio Missoni – The master of knitwear fashion


Ottavio Missoni was an Italian fashion designer and founder of the Missoni fashion company, which became known for its creations in the field of knitwear, characterized by zigzag patterns and bold colors. He was born on February 11, 1921 in Ragusa di Dalmazia, in what is now Croatia, and grew up in a wealthy family. His father was a ship captain and his mother was a Croatian countess. Even as a child he showed an interest in fashion and art and learned to knit from his mother.

Missoni began his career as a track and field athlete and participated in the 1948 London Olympics, where he competed in the 400-meter race. It was there that he met his future wife Rosita Jelmini, who came from a textile family. The two married in 1953 and a year later founded their own knitwear factory in Gallarate, near Milan. They began making sweaters and scarves for other brands until 1958, when they presented their first collection of their own under the Missoni name.

The Missonis developed an innovative style characterized by the use of colorful yarns, geometric patterns and unusual materials such as lurex or mohair. They also experimented with different knitting techniques, creating a three-dimensional effect on their fabrics. Their fashion was cheerful, lively and original, hitting the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s. They conquered the international scene with their shows in Florence, Paris and New York and became a symbol of Italian design.

The Missonis expanded their range over the years to include other products such as dresses, skirts, pants, jackets, coats, swimwear, accessories, perfumes, home textiles and even hotels. They also collaborated with renowned artists such as Lucio Fontana, creating works of art from their fabrics. They remained true to their style and passed the management of their company to their three children, Vittorio, Luca and Angela, who continued their parents’ legacy.

Ottavio Missoni died on May 9, 2013, at his home in Sumirago, Lombardy, at the age of 92. He left behind a family, an empire and a legend. He will be remembered as one of the most important fashion designers of the 20th century, who revolutionized the world of knitwear and created a distinctive aesthetic.

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