MILAN — Filippo Grazioli smiles easily speaking about his spring collection for Missoni and posing for photographs at the brand’s Milan showroom for an exclusive preview.
His cheerful and friendly disposition is reflected in his joyful and youthful designs — no doubt in line with his remit to rejuvenate the brand.
After a menswear debut last June, Grazioli will hold his first womenswear show for Missoni on Friday at Milan’s Bocconi University, with a set inspired by artists who often use light as a material, such as the South Korean Kimsooja or the American James Turrell.
Light is indeed a key focus for Grazioli’s collection, with colors refracted as in a prism. Grazioli worked mainly with black and white, primary yellow, magenta and cyan, which he said “are the foundations for any kind of nuance.” Sequins and studs added light to several looks, such as a magenta skirt with shiny metallic buttons on the side.
The designer is very respectful of Missoni’s history, but after his resort collection presented in June, Grazioli felt he could be more daring and “have more fun” with the spring lineup.
For example, mindful of the connection with the past but translating it for the future, he introduced some transparencies. “I was influenced by the fact that [founders] Rosita and Ottavio Missoni were banned from showing in Florence after the collection they presented in 1967 [as part of the Sala Bianca designers] was deemed too scandalous,” recalled Grazioli. The incident was caused by the Missonis’ decision to present the collection on models without bras because these arrived in the wrong color and the exposed breasts under the garments caused a stir at the time.
Fast forward to today, clearly nobody will be up in arms and in any case the collection is never vulgar, and the transparencies quite sophisticated.
Ottavio Missoni was born in Dubrovnik and, perhaps also influenced by his summer vacation in Croatia, along whose coast the patriarch and his wife used to sail, Grazioli revisited the past by revamping Rosita’s use of the bustier — jazzed up by the brand’s flames and zigzag patterns.
However, the designer reined in the use of the Missoni codes and patterns, juxtaposing them with colorblock details or supersizing them as a single element on a dress and updating them in new weights and techniques — the brand’s craftsmanship always evident.
Newness also came from knotted and draped fabrics that added movement to the body-hugging dresses, and from sexy fringed skirts.
Whether short or long, the silhouette was vertical, fitted and “body conscious,” said Grazioli, as one of his goals was “to enhance the female body.”
A graduate of Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design, Grazioli, who joined Missoni in March, developed his career in Paris. During an internship at Staff International, he met Martin Margiela and went on to work with the designer on the women’s collections until 2013. In 2015, after a stint as senior women’s designer at Hermès, he made another important personal encounter, meeting Riccardo Tisci and becoming director of the collections at Givenchy. Grazioli then followed Tisci to become director of the runway collection at Burberry.
The change in creative direction at Missoni is part of the five-year plan presented by chief executive officer Livio Proli, who joined the company from the Giorgio Armani Group in 2020, after the Italian fund FSI took a 41.2 percent stake in the family-owned fashion house in 2018.