#SuzyMFW Missoni At 65: A Meaningful Celebration

Perched on the roof of the Fiera di Milano, overlooking illuminated high-rise buildings competing with the rising full moon, Missoni celebrated 65 years as a family of fashion. By the end of the show, after a parade of the extraordinary lightness of their inventive knitwear, accompanied by Michael Nyman’s live piano music, the entire family lined up to kick off the celebration.

Rosita Missoni was as open and honest as any matriarch can be – reflecting on the family’s loss of her husband and her son in 2013, but also the arrival of grandchildren.

“I think if I go back to my long life, there were very sad moments, but if I have to look at the whole thing: we have had many, many opportunities – from life and from people we’ve met. Then there is the fact that we could build our factory where we live and where now there is all my family – also the young ones – they are all around. The garden has become a kindergarten, which I love!”

Ah! Those Italian families, with their noisy arguments, explosive rows and big hugs. It is so rare now to see a fashion company stay together, without being swallowed up by the big groups. And by some God-sent miracle to find a new member in the next generation.

Angela Missoni celebrated herself 20 years at the helm this time last year. But she has never sent out such a beautiful collection: airy in its elegance as the faintest shadow of the body that could be seen through the wispy materials. Menswear was included in the collection which, although making for a long show, underlined the blurred gender context in a changing world.

What were these gossamer-light clothes wrapped over the body? Discounting the concept that they might have fallen out of the night sky, the Missoni studios must have been working overtime to produce these soft, lacy materials – what the designer called “a primal story of gossamer textures, airy volumes and craft”. Then came a more poetic definition of the Missoni work: “Primeval as the urge to wrap and cover up. Primary as the touch of the human hand.” The designer might have added: as wearable and easy as clothes can be.

Angela has always seemed more a pragmatist than a dreamer. So these shifting textures, all of them so exceptionally light, could be seen as easy-to-pack and practical for different seasons. But they were also poetic in colour, as dusty pink merged with sage, shots of juicy orange, every shade of blue, including jeans, or darker shades of midnight-blue sparkling with sequins.

The show notes talked of “geo-cultural connections in the atmosphere” and “a crossing of worlds as a crossing of textures”.

But Rosita herself brought the eternal style of Missoni down to earth as she pointed to her own quietly patterned top and looked at the coffee tables on the roof filling up with guests, “I didn’t want to wear something that someone already had, so I wore this jacket which must be 10 to 20 years old,” she said. “And it works!”