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Missoni

Missoni's Fashion Evolution

Images of a leggy brunette, large of shades and glossy of lip, wafting around bamboo beach house furniture in a luxurious kaftan, rich Italians on holiday and "haute-hippy chic" all embody the spirit of Italian fashion dynasty Missoni's much copied and eminently recognisable look.

Much as striped, zig-zig patterned knits have as strong a connection to the name Missoni as the image of the tower of Pisa does to Italy, all fashion successes must evolve to survive. Missoni's strategy has been to pursue its strongest suit; textile technology, in a new direction. The more recent collections feature heavily layered ensembles even for SS with dresses, tunics, cardigans of various lengths one on top of the other in soft colours like dusky pink, baby blues, greys and beiges, all the while maintaining the deluxe hippy vibe with trailing beads and trinkety jewellery.

In common with other Italian brands, the Missoni affair is a family one; founded by Ottavio (known as Tai) and Rosita Missoni in 1953. The company first showed in Paris in 1976, where Vogue editrix of the era Diana Vreeland picked up the cause. The late '70s then was the first era in which Missoni was a cutting edge brand, and the decade itself seems to have left a lasting imprint on the label's style. Rosita surrendered control of the design process to her daughter Angela in 1997, who expanded the company's remit into shoes, the diffusion line M and more non-knit pieces in the mainline collection. Meanwhile Rosita turned her attention to the Missoni Home collection, providing another element to the complete Missoni lifestyle.

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