Monday Musings: Ottavio and Rosita Missoni

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“Our philosophy since we went into business has been that a piece of clothing should be like a work of art. It should not be bought for a special occasion or because it’s in fashion, but because a woman likes it…and feels she could wear it forever.”- Rosita Missoni

The husband and wife design team behind the Missoni label, have created great designs, and culminated a unique history.  Read on for fun facts about this atypical story behind the creations of Ottavio Missioni, and Rosita Jelmini Missoni!

A Bit of Background

  • Ottavio “Tai” Missoni was born in 1921 in Dubrovnik, Italy. His father was an Italian sea Captain and his mother was a Dalmatian noblewoman.
  • In the late 1940s, Ottavio Missoni established a workshop producing jersey tracksuits that were sported by the Italian Athletic Team at the 1948 London Olympics.
  • At the olympics Ottavio himself qualified for the finals of the 400 meter hurdle race!
  • While in London he met Rosita Jelmini, the granddaughter of a family of shawl and ladies wear manufacturers from Varese, in northern Italy.
  • The two married in 1953, and together began making items of knitwear in a small workshop in the basement of their first home in Gallarte.
  • In 1958 they presented their first collection in Milan, called Milano Sympathy, which was the first to bear the Missoni label.
  • In the late 1960’s the couple moved to the company’s present site in Sumorago, complete with stunning views of the Monte Rosa mountains.
  • In 1967, the couple was invited to show at the Pitti Palace in Florence, in which Rosita told the models to remove their bras as they were the wrong color, and showed through the thin lame blouses. Yet the material became transparent under the lights and caused a sensation! Although the Missionis were not invited back the following year, their business gained strength and popularity from the show.
  • The couple’s children Vittorio, Angela, and Luca, have followed their parent’s path, in keeping the spirit and style of Missioni alive all over the world.
  • Their designs were inspired by the natural environment, as well as their own collection of art from Europe’s Modernist era. The work of great artists such as Tancredi, Sonia Delaunay, and Gino Severini, can be seen in the geometric patterns of Missioni fabrics.
  • In 2011, Missoni made headlines for teaming up with Target, to offer low cost variants of Missoni products. The items sold out quickly within 24 hours, with lines up to 100 people long waiting for restocking. Target’s website crashed repeatedly! Many of the items appeared on ebay within hours, for two to three times the store price!


Missoni Spring 2012: Under the Sea

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Missoni’s Spring collection features stunning tributes to the sea, from the fabrics to the colors, the ocean comes alive in their designs!

Get the Look!

To recreate this look, try a tiered blue dress like this one from Modcloth! To add a pop of color, try yellow accessories from the earrings to the shoes!

Missoni Resort 2012 Collection

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Missoni’s resort collection pulls on softer fabrics and silhouette’s that evoke the simple elegance of the 1920’s. Their looks portray a natural beach motif, complete with conch shells, sequins and an adorable puckered chiffon that resemble a living coral reef.


Get the Look!

To recreate this soft look, try a coral maxi dress, with a fun cut out! For accessories keep it colorful, from two tone wedges, an adorable hair wrap or layered bangles and bracelets!

Missoni For Target


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When I first saw the look book for Missoni’s Target collection, my first thought was, ‘that’s a lot of chevron’. Overtime the looks have started to look a bit more appealing, and in my opinion, a little bit of chevron can go a long way.

Get the Look!

To add a bit of seventies style to your look try a pale pink chevron dress, with neutral accessories. From the floppy brown hat to the brown bow wedges, this look is simple yet a classic 70s style!

 What do you think about Mossoni’s style and designs? Did you buy any pieces from their Target collection? Let me know!


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