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Introducing Texprint 2015 prize presenter: Rosita Missoni

11 September 2015 by Roger Tredre

The legendary Rosita Missoni, who founded Missoni with her late husband Ottavio more than 50 years ago, is presenting the Texprint prizes at Premre Vision Designs in Paris.

She's in her eighties now, but Rosita Missoni is the kind of woman who likes to keep busy. Which is great news for Texprint – we are honoured indeed that she has agreed to present the prizes at Première Vision Designs on September 16.

 

Rosita and her husband Ottavio (known as Tai) set up Missoni back in 1953 in her hometown of Gallarate near Milan. Tai, a 1948 Olympics athlete, already had a business making knitted sportswear, while her family was in the homewares and textiles business. They focused on knitwear, beginning with one machine that could only do stripes. The addition of Raschel machines that made a zigzag set them on the path to their distinctive space-dyed zigzags, first shown in Florence in 1969.

The Missoni business was part of a new wave of Italian design that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, putting ‘Made in Italy’ on the global fashion map. In terms of colour and pattern particularly, Missoni has made a huge impact on the modern fashion landscape.

Family is all-important to the Missonis. In 1997 Rosita handed over the fashion side of the business to her daughter Angela. In the years that followed, she found stepping back did not keep her busy, so she turned her energies to Missoni Home, which has grown fast in recent years, even developing lifestyle hotels.

 

Rosita Missoni says her interest in design has been lifelong: “I realised I had a knack for interior design when I was a child. My favourite game was to create a house or living room in the heath forest of my village, Golasecca.”

With her family’s textile factory to explore, Rosita was enthralled. "For a girl who loves getting dressed up, to have colour and prints all around was heaven. It was my playground. I was allowed to dig in the wastebaskets and go home with bits and pieces. They made me wonder and dream."

Developing the next generation of designers is close to her heart. The new generation of Missonis is certainly well involved in the business: since 2010, granddaughter Margherita has been accessories director and designer of the Missoni Mare collection. Rosita’s great-grandchildren are still a bit young to enter the business.

The year 2013 was exceptionally tough for the family, with the tragic death of Rosita’s son Vittorio in a plane crash, followed by the death of Tai at the age of 92. Two years on, however, the family has felt the time is right to celebrate its long heritage with an exhibition, Missoni, L’Arte, Il Colore, at the Museo Maga in Gallarate, near Milan (open until November 15) and an accompanying book by Rizzoli. The exhibition explores Rosita and Tai’s early inspirations and influences in creating Missoni’s vibrant mosaics of zigzags and stripes.

And so, at a moment when the fashion world is celebrating the enduring qualities of Missoni, it is appropriate that Rosita Missoni is joining Texprint in Paris to congratulate a new generation of textile designers.

Above, images from Not Just Bikinis – the title Vogue Italia gave this loose knit look, and one of the most photographed Missoni looks from 1974. Previously shown at the Whitney in New York and the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, it can once again be seen at the Missoni, L’Arte, Il Colore show.

 


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