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A tapestry revisited 

A closer look at Missoni’s storied love affair with the sea 

It all begins with a tapestry: sailboats punctuating undulating waves with bursts of marigold, turquoise and emerald.

The work, a part of a larger body christened Italia di Maglia, was designed by Missoni for the Spring Summer 1993 collection and hangs as a knitted tapestry in the family archives in Sumirago. But this woven map is more than a decorative ornament; it’s the narrative of a family’s origins.

The house of Missoni founds its natural habitat on the wooded hills of Varese. But the Family story really began in the Adriatic sea off the coast of Ottavio’s birthplace in Ragusa, today’s Dubrovnik. The salt water ran through his bloodlines. His father was an intrepid sea captain and an ancestor named Misson gained notoriety as an utopistic ‘gentleman’ pirate.

Since they met, Ottavio and Rosita returned every summer to the Dalmatian Islands where they would spend the holidays in the crystal waters of this sea. It would prove to be an image that would endure through the family’s legend, from a tapestry hanging in Sumirago to the sea and surf inspired Missoni men’s latest collections.

 

Nicola Hunt

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