Ottavio Missoni


A new work of art will be installed on Wednesday in Milan to celebrate the late fashion entrepreneur and designer Ottavio Missoni, who passed away in May 2013.

Conceived by Daniele Poggiaro and Missoni’s son Luca, artistic director of the family company’s archive, the vertical “Rose of the Winds” sculpture is inspired by a knitted patchwork tapestry realized in 1986 by Ottavio, known as Tai, Missoni. The work will be placed at the “Aulì Ulé. The garden of forgotten games” green area for children, covering 215,278 square feet, at the Idroscalo, near the Linate airport.

“When I talked with Ottavio ‘Tai’ Missoni about Aulì Ulé he immediately showed his enthusiastic support,” said Aulì Ulé founder Fulvio Scaparro of a conversation he had with the designer, who died in 2013. “It couldn’t be any different because Tai had the spirit, the curiosity, the creativity and the enthusiasm of a child. He used to say he was a descendant of Misson, a libertarian pirate from the end of the 15th century and, like him, he loved the sea, travels, as well as adventure and freedom. The Rose of the Winds celebrates his unconditional love for the world and for life.”

The "Rose of The Winds" sculpture

The “Rose of the Winds” sculpture.  Courtesy Photo

Missoni’s creativity was celebrated last fall with the “Marc Chagall, Ottavio Missoni. Dream and Color,” exhibition, pairing the artwork of  Chagall with the artistic creations of Missoni. Curated by Luca Missoni, that exhibit, held by the Archaeological Museum at the city hall of Sesto Calende, a town near the Missoni headquarters, featured Chagall’s drawings from his “Bible Series” and some lithographs for “The Story of Exodus.” These were shown next to Missoni’s patchwork tapestries, special fabrics and drawings.

Tai Missoni was born in 1921 in Ragusa, Italy, on the Dalmatian coast. By 1942, he was already a track star, but he suffered in World War II, fighting at El Alamein and being held as a British prisoner of war in Egypt for four years.

Running was a natural gift, and his nickname was “Son of Apollus.” Missoni made the Italian national team when he was 16, and at the time of his death still held the national 400-meter record for a 16-year-old. Wool and sports were a recurring theme in his life, while schooling was not a priority. With his wife Rosita, Missoni introduced a groundbreaking brand and built an enduring family business. The Missonis were often described as “color geniuses” and were the first to make coordinating separates in different patterns, a zigzag top with a polka dot skirt, for example.

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