1st May 2016

Missoni: Colour, material and shape (2015)

I was born with Missoni genes – there is multicoloured blood flowing throw my veins. The colour scheme of my wardrobe is a kaleidoscopic palette, and as life is an infinite canvas, let’s paint it with colour. A bit of,  “Amber, gold, orange, a kind of light olive-green and yellow, but very mixed … they’re never, never, precise colours. Lots of mixture. Lots of soft interpretation” is how Angela Missoni, daughter and Creative Director of the company since 1997, describes one of Missoni’s fashion collections.

Ottavio Missoni, 7 Flowers
Ottavio Missoni, 7 Flowers

I remember the first time I met the ‘Maestro del Colore’ (the Master of Colour) Ottavio Missoni, in early October 2002, at the Missoni Fashion show in Milan. He drew me seven flowers and described them like the seven musical notes by saying that he liked to compare colour to music, “there are only seven notes and yet innumerable melodies have been composed with those seven notes. How many tones and shades does each colour have?”

Ottavio Missoni met Rosita Jelmini in London where he qualified for the 400m hurdle race at the 1948 London Olympics. It was after their marriage in 1953 that they began the Missoni knitwear business. In the late fifties they presented the first Missoni collection to the public at La Rinascente Milan.

A combination of love, colour, materials and art created a new style. During these years Missoni established a concept that went beyond ‘Made in Italy’ to become an international brand. Colour, movement, dynamism and aesthetic have been a constant source of inspiration. Together they have built a fashion empire where a piece of clothing is also a work of Art. As Rosita stated, “Colour is the story of our life”.

Ottavio Missoni, Untitled, 1973
Ottavio Missoni, Untitled, 1973

This is how we now explore and admire the iconic Italian Missoni fashion house. From the 6 May until 4 September 2016, The Fashion and Textile Museum in London will open their doors to a new exhibition entitled ‘Missoni Art Colour’, a dialogue between Ottavio and Rosita Missoni’s creations and the modernist artworks of Sonia Delauney, Lucio Fontana and Gino Severini.

Gino Severini, Ballerina, oil on canvas, 1957
Gino Severini, Ballerina, oil on canvas, 1957

Originally this exhibition was staged in Gallarate, Italy by the MA*GA Museum in collaboration with Missoni. It is curated by Luciano Caramel, Art critic and historian, Luca Missoni, Artistic Director of Missoni Archive, and Emma Zanella, Director of MA*GA Museum. The Director of the Fashion and Textile Museum, Celia Joicey, says that it is a privilege to be the first overseas venue to host ‘Missoni Art Colour’, a mix between fashion and art.

Missoni Art Colour, Exhibition Catalogue, Skira Rizzoli Publications Inc. 2015
Missoni Art Colour, Exhibition Catalogue, Skira Rizzoli Publications Inc. 2015. Photo by Julian Harris

The exhibition includes Missoni garments dating from 1950 to 2014 and video installations by contemporary Turkish Artist, Ali Kazma. It also reveals unseen textile studies, Italian Futurist artwork as well as Ottavio Missoni’s large ‘Arazzi’ Tapestries made with knitted patchwork.

Ottavio Missoni, Arazzo, 1981
Ottavio Missoni, Arazzo, 1981

Be ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through colour and harmony. “Colour is life, because a world without colour would be a world without life” (Johannes Itten, ‘Arte del Colore’, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1962)

Missoni Art Colour, Exhibition Catalogue, Skira Rizzoli Publications Inc. 2015 on Missoni Home beach towel.
Missoni Art Colour, Exhibition Catalogue, Skira Rizzoli Publications Inc. 2015 on Missoni Home beach towel. Photo by Julian Harris

By ilaria


  1. Reply

    To support my studies for one my A-level courses in Fashion Textiles, I took a trip to London to visit the Missoni Art Colour Exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum.

  2. Reply

    Lovely!! I wish I could have seen the exhibition 😊

  3. Reply

    Wow! After reading your blog I went to look at Missoni Colour exhibition! Terrific!!! Thank you!

  4. Reply

    Fantastic Ilaria! Enjoy at report back! Bacioni

  5. Reply

    Fabulous! How lovely to be reminded of the art of colour by Missoni. Baci O

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