Missoni

   Octavio (Tai) Missoni (1921) and Rosita Torrani (1932) grew up in Italy and were both exposed to fashion at an early age. Tai, an Olympic athlete, had a trainer who owned a small knitting factory in Trieste, which created wool tracksuits. Rosita's grandmother produced a line of high-quality nightgowns and robes. When the couple met and later married in 1953, they set up their knitwear business called Maglificio Jolly with four knitting machines in Varese, Italy. In 1965, they changed the name to Missoni and were selling striped knit shirtwaist dresses to Italian department stores for $5 each. In the early 1960s, the couple teamed up with designer Emmanuelle Khanh and developed a joint collection called Missoni Emmanuelle Khanh. In 1967, Rosita sent braless models down the runway so that their white bras would not show through the knit clothing, causing such a scandal that they were banned from showing at the Palazzo Pitti for several seasons. However, the company catapulted to fame in 1968 when Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, went head-over-heels for the collection presented at the Plaza Hotel. Missoni's signature consists of knit separates in unusual color combinations and intricate jacquard patterns, which include their often copied stripes, wave, zigzag and flame-patterns. They got their first in-store boutique at Bloomingdale's in 1970, received the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1973, and opened their first boutique in Milan in 1976.
   Tai and Rosita eventually passed control of their company to their three children: Angela, Vittorio, and Luca. Angela dabbled in her own collection for five years but, in 1998, assumed complete creative control of the Missoni collection, which includes the men's and women's collections, company image, stores and the company's eleven licenses. In 1999, the company launched M Missoni, a less expensive collection, and added a woven collection to complement the knit line. In 2006, in partnership with Valentino Fashion Group, Missoni launched an M Missoni Boutique in SoHo, New York, and plans to open more stores in Asia and the Middle East.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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