Vintage Ottavio Missoni Textiles and Rugs
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Ottavio “Tai” Missoni (1921—2013) is the patriarch of one of the most renowned design houses in Italy. For fifty years, Ottavio and his wife Rosita have been working side by side and creating distinctive, highly influential knitted textiles and fashions. After three generations, Missoni has become a trendsetting lifestyle brand that captures the zeitgeist in a glamorous, folksy, bohemian way. The Missoni story begins at the 1948 Olympics in London where Ottavio and Rosita first met. Ottavio was a hurdler who had a startup business selling knitted tracksuits, including the outfits that his Olympic team wore. His future wife Rosita came from a family of Italian shawl makers that used knitting machines extensively. Together they established the brand in 1953. Although the couple’s first systems could only produce simple stripes, these graphic patterns became Missoni trademarks.
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Through Ottavio and subsequent generations, the Missoni family shows a genuine love for texture, color, natural fibers and handcrafted details. The Missoni duo is always depicted working passionately in studios surrounded by colorful woven knits and textile art. These heaps of scraps and color tests inspired one of Ottavio’s creative pastimes that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. Inspired by area carpets from the East and quilting techniques from around the world, he created a series of intricate tapestries and patchwork collages containing fantastic snippets from the brand’s many fashion collections. By modern or historic standards, Missoni’s fabulous textiles for the floor and his tapestries for the wall take color, pattern, texture and juxtaposition to an unprecedented level.
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