The History of Missoni

The Missoni brand has been a staple on fashion runways and the backs of A-list stars for decades, but the Italian fashion company wasn’t always a household name. Just over half a century ago, this iconic design house was little more than a small-town Italian store seeking its audience.

In the early 1950s, married couple Ottavio and Rosita Missoni were working in the small town of Gallarate, Italy, creating the beautiful handmade knitwear their eponymous label would one day become known for. Initially adopted as the go-to streetwear for fashionable locals, the brand’s small following soon exploded well beyond the confines of Gallarate, with the couple bringing their designs to debut in Milan in 1958, just five years after the business was initially founded. Over the next 11 years, the brand continued to expand its reach, building its first factory in 1969—and just like that, the brand became an international sensation, the company’s clothing seen in the pages of Vogue and the windows of famous department stores like Bloomingdale’s shortly thereafter.

The brand’s success continued at a steady clip over the next two decades, until, in the 1990s, its founders decided they would turn over the family clothing business to the next generation. As Ottavio began designing homewares and costumes for other companies, Rosita set her sights on the brand’s Missoni Home line as her daughter Angela took the helm on the company’s fashion front, going from wild success to fashion industry domination. However, the Missonis’ semi-retirement didn’t last long. After Ottavio passed away in 2013, Rosita stayed engaged in company business, soon extending the brand into a new business venture: luxury real estate.

In 2017, the company broke ground on Missoni Baia, a luxury waterfront condo tower in Miami. Developed by OKO Group, OB Group, and Cain International and designed by Asymptote Architecture, with Revuelta Architecture International taking the lead as executive architect, the 249-residence tower is on track for completion in 2020. When it welcomes its residents, they’ll get the Missoni aesthetic everywhere they turn—thanks to interior designer Paris Forino’s vision, the building’s communal spaces will be peppered with Missoni Home’s iconic colors and patterns. However, that’s far from the only perk of living in this waterfront wonder: the building will also be home to an Olympic-sized pool, 1,700-square-foot fitness center, outdoor deck, private lounge, children’s playroom, salon, and a pet spa for pampering the furry members of the family.

While the Missoni brand started humbly, there’s no denying the reach or influence of this powerhouse brand today. From stitching dresses in a small-town store to conquering the world of luxury real estate, there’s no denying that Missoni—and the family that created the iconic brand—has made the world a more colorful place.

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