Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Ottavio Missoni dies at 92

Ottavio Missoni, the patriarch and founder of the Missoni fashion house, died Thursday at his family's home in Sumirago, Italy. He was 92.

Ottavio Missoni, the founder of the Missoni fashion house, died Thursday at his family's home in Sumirago, Italy. He was 92.

The patriarch of the Missoni clan's death follows the disappearance of his son, Vittorio, whose plane vanished off the coast of Venezuela in January. Multiple Italian news media outlets reported last week that Missoni was being treated for a respiratory condition last week.

Missoni's hefty influence on global style and culture follows an illustrious life prior to his foray into fashion. Born on the Dalmatian coast in 1921 - in what is now Dubrovnik, Croatia - Missoni, nicknamed "Tai," was a natural athlete and track star. He served as a soldier in Africa during World War II, and for four years, Missoni was held as a British prisoner of war in Egypt.

Upon his release, Missoni competed in the London Olympics in 1948, where he met his wife Rosita. The two married in 1953 and that same year, they set up a knitwear shop in Lombardy, Italy. The Missonis showed their very first collection in 1966 in Milan, and have remained fashion week staples ever since. Missoni said frequently that he stumbled into the fashion industry by accident, although the brand's zigzag print and colorful prints have become must-have items in the wardrobes of fashion-conscious men and women worldwide.

In the late 1990s, Tai and Rosita Missoni passed the baton of helming the Missoni company over to their three children, each of whom took over a distinct set of responsibilities. Angela became creative director of the brand, and Luca took over the technical role, while Vittorio became CEO, overseeing the business operations of the Missoni fashion house. Under their direction, the Missoni fashion house expanded into a lifestyle empire encompassing home and hotel design goods, fragrances, and more.

In 2011, Missoni debuted a collaboration line with Target, which was considered a smashing success - so much that the Target website crashed when the collection launched.

Continuing the Missoni family's fashion dynasty is Tai's granddaughter and Angela's daughter Margherita, a fresh-faced voice for the fashion brand who's starred in multiple Missoni ad campaigns.