SUMIRAGO, Italy — Ottavio Missoni, widely known as Tai, will celebrate his 90th birthday today with “a good glass of wine” and an autobiography “Una vita sul filo di lana,” written with Paolo Scandaletti, published by Rizzoli and soon to be translated into English. The title, which in English means “A life on the wool thread,” is a pun on the duality of Missoni’s successes athletically and in fashion, as a thread was used in the past to determine the winner of a race before the arrival of photo finishes. In his studio overlooking the Alps, filled with photos, sketches of patterns and samples of knits and gardening books, Missoni shared his thoughts with WWD on this remarkable milestone, reached with the help of undaunted irony and peace of mind — and an exceptional memory.

This story first appeared in the February 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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