By  on January 30, 2006

MILAN — A gym, rather than a boudoir, inspired the new innerwear collection that Missoni Sport will introduce for spring.

"These are practical items, designed for daily wear," said Luca Missoni, creative director of Missoni Sport and the men's Missoni line. (For more on the ever-growing world of Missoni, see story on page 16 on the M Missoni collection.)

However, these are also pieces meant to complement and accessorize clothing, with a flash of wavy, colorful ruches slipping out of low-rise jeans, for example. To better offset the unmistakable Missoni patterns, the shapes are "simple, easy and wearable," according to the designer.

To this end, comfort and lightweight fabrics are a priority. The 15-style collection mainly employs stretch tulle, with multilayered prints reproducing the iconic Missoni patterns, from zigzags to checks and flame-like motifs.

"In these pieces, however, these patterns are more essential and more immediate, with less mélange and dégradée hues," said Missoni, noting how the flame pattern, for example, always features a strong white base with contrasting colors. "It's almost an optical pattern."

Often, under the tulle, Missoni added a monochrome cotton or viscose jersey layer to tone down the transparency of the tulle and add a more vivid color to the patterns. For spring, the color palette revolves around acid green, pink, geranium and sulphur yellow. Missoni said his experience designing costumes for Dave Parson's Aeros dancers and acrobats helped him experiment with synthetic fibers that he used in the innerwear collection.

"These are fabrics that are almost second skin, that move with the body, stretch, are used and washed and recycled over and over again," he said.

Vittorio Missoni, the company's marketing director and sales manager, said the collection is in line with the house's strategy to further expand Missoni Sport's product range.

"The collection is a natural evolution of the line, and it responds to a market request and a specific demand from our distributors," said Missoni. "We felt the need to diversify the line, although the innerwear collection is very much integrated and coordinated with the clothing division."

The innerwear collection will be available at multibrand fashion boutiques and at the eight existing Missoni Sport stores around the world. Retailing at 30 percent less than the signature line, Missoni Sport is available at more than 1,000 points of sale."This is a positive moment for the innerwear category, which has increasingly become an accessory to clothing, much as a belt," said Luca Missoni.

In 2005, Missoni Sport reported wholesale sales of 35 million euros, or $42.2 million at current exchange.

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