Neil Barrett, Angela Missoni and Rosita Missoni

MILAN — La Rinascente hosted a gala dinner on Monday night at the Royal Palace here to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Ahead of the dinner, prepared by chef Carlo Cracco, guests enjoyed a preview of the “LR 100-Rinascente. Stories of Innovation” exhibition, curated by Maria Canella, a fashion history professor at Milan University, along with Sandrina Bandera, president of the modern and contemporary art Ma*Ga Museum in Gallarate, Italy. Rem Koolhaas’ OMA/AMO studio developed the exhibit’s concept and design.

“La Rinascente was crucial for the success of our company,” said Rosita Missoni, who attended the dinner along with her daughter Angela, creative director of the family-owned firm. “They ordered 500 pieces of these two models of knitted dresses which had buttons on the front and which women were able to try without using the changing rooms.”

Those dresses were center stage in one of the exhibition’s 11 rooms. Reproducing the original shopping windows where they were displayed in 1958, they were shown on blindfolded mannequins.

“The night the windows were set up, Tai [her late husband Ottavio Missoni] and I ran to see them,” said Missoni. “It was a foggy night, the Duomo square was empty and suddenly a mechanic wearing a jumpsuit stopped next to us and looking at the windows commented  ‘Poor girls, thank God they cannot see how they are dressed.’ He brought us good luck!”

Neil Barrett also attended the dinner. “I usually don’t come to this kind of event, but for Vittorio Radice [La Rinascente vice chairman,] everything!” said the British designer, who is about to move his company into new headquarters located on Milan’s Via Ceresio, next to the Dsquared2 building. “It’s really exciting. I totally like the new space.”

Before the end of the dinner, Le Div4s, a group of four sopranos, offered a live performance.

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