Missoni, Art, Colour: the fashion house shines a light on its artistic roots

Missoni, Art, Colour: the fashion house shines a light on its artistic roots

While design week puffs along in Milan, iconic fashion brand Missoni opens the doors to a new fashion and art exhibition, 40 minutes away at the MA*GA Museum in Gallarate, Italy. Entitled ’Missoni, Art, Colour’ and curated by Luciano Caramel and Emma Zanella, the exhibition features a special edit of 100 garments from the brand’s 62-year history, mixed with European art from the 20th century.

The mix between fashion and art is a trendy topic of late, but in Missoni’s case, the cross-pollination has roots with the brand’s founders, Rosita and Ottavio Missoni, who launched the brand in Gallarate in 1953.

’My parents were both very passionate about art,’ explains Angela Missoni, who took the creative reigns of her family’s company in 1997. ’But my father also painted. When they first moved to Sumirago [a hillside town 15 minutes away from Gallarate where the family and its headquarters are now based], they had a lot of white walls but no money to buy art. So my father spent several months at a friend’s studio creating paintings to hang on the walls at home.’

A series of these paintings, created by Ottavio in the late 1970s, is on display at the museum, together with a collection of tapestries he made in the 1980s. The personal artwork is mixed with modernist masterpieces. Work by Lucio Fontana, Wassily Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay is on display, as well as many of the other 20th century artists who inspired by Rosita and Ottavio in the development of their vibrant patterns and signature graphic style.

Also noteworthy is an installation created by Luca Missoni - Angela’s brother who oversees the brand’s archives - that features huge spools of coloured threads and tubular nets of fabric. A video installation created by Turkish artist Ali Kazman in 2009 that shows the evolution of a collection from dying threads to final garments is also included, along with a tight edit of clothing spanning the brand’s history.

’Knowing everything I do about our archives, it’s painful knowing what’s missing [from the 100 pieces],’ admits Angela. ’But it looks very special - and when a regular person walks in, I think they’ll think it’s pretty spectacular.’

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