Missoni patriarch dies at 92

Retail Editor 2, May 9, 2013

Sumirago, Italy - Oattavio Missoni, founder of the eponymous fashion house, died here earlier today at his home in northern Italy. He was 92.

He and his wife, Rosita Jelmini, started a small knitwear company in 1953 and showed their first collection in Milan in 1966. In the late 1990s, their daughter Angela took over the apparel end of the business and Rosita became creative director for home furnishings.
Son Vittorio Missoni, ceo of the company, and his wife disappeared while travelling on a small plane earlier this year and were never found.

Home textiles veteran Barry Shapiro worked with the family for nearly two decades, first paying royalties to license Missoni designs for home furnishings fabrics, then importing finished home goods made in Italy for the American market.

"The man himself was a great lover of life," Shapiro told HTT. "He was also a great businessman - a very quiet but a very strong businessman."

The iconic brand continues to resonate. Missoni Home was part of Bloomingdale's 2010 store debut in Dubai. In 2011, when luxury flash site retailer launched its Gilt Home business, the luxury Missoni Home collection was featured on its landing page. Also in 2011, Target's short-run collaboration with Missoni across a range of product categories, including home, was such a smash that it crashed the retailer's web site and sold out of stores within hours.

"The brand Oattavio built will be a memorial to him forever," said Shapiro.

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