Knit Wits: Q&A With Luca Missoni


Vintage photograph of Missoni heads of household Ottavio and Rosita Missoni; Maglia Zig Zag print. Courtesy Missoni.

The Missonis are sharing family secrets with a three-part exhibition, “Missoni: The Art of Fabric in Motion” currently on display in Madrid. Middle Missoni Luca is running a serious of panels and discussions corresponding to the show. Here he lets us know what the jerseyed clan wears at home.

How did you determine the specific concepts for these exhibitions? And what made you decide to turn it into a three part series?
The purpose of the exhibition is to describe the creative and artistic experience, which are the roots of the Missoni Design Process. The exhibition, being hosted at the same time in three different exposition spacescultural institute, the costumes museum and the fashion and design school, gave me the possibility to develop the project in three parts that complemented each other and to better communicate our experience through culture, craft making and design.

Why did you choose to present this exhibition in Madrid?
Spain is an important and constantly growing market for us. The first Missoni Boutique opened in Madrid in March 2007, followed by Marbella in January 2008. The exhibition shows our appreciation, and being in Madrid will allow the public and the media to experience Missoni first hand, in a new and more comprehensive way, going beyond fashion and window displays.

Luca Missoni in 2006. Photo: John Horsley

How does “contemporary dance” influence or inspire your designs? 
Freedom of movement is one of the necessary condition of the body and dance is the ultimate example. My parents’ success in designing fashion in the early sixties came from this concept of freedom with the knit jersey, being the right medium to sense it. “I love the fact that the fabrics I designed can stimulate visually as well physically this type of emotion, this sense of movement”

How for you do fashion and art overlap?

We are constantly inspired and motivated by art; it is what drives our research. Fashion has always been a form of applied art.

The amount of research and development that goes into fabric sourcing and production might surprise some people.
All of our garments follow a “memorable journey.” Trying to express this journey is the reason why I enjoy designing exhibitions like this.

What is Missoni’s fashion philosophy for 2009?
Missoni’s philosophy is timeless. Explore your emotions and be comfortable in what you wear.
What’s the first thing you ever designed?
My mother Rosita always said that when I was only nine she chose one of my designs to create a jacquard motif for a dress in the women’s Fall/Winter 1966 collection. By the time I was nineteen, I saw my first successful contribution to a Missoni collection—a new knit project—and then it never stopped. But my favorite garment is a double mix shawl collar long cardigan that I wear at home, a great Missoni classic.


“The Style and Culture of Fabric: A Trip through Tradition and Research” is on display at the Italian Cultural Institute; “Stripes Talk: From the Origins of Ball of Yarn to Applied Arts” is at the Museo del Traje (Costume Museum); “Color Experiments: From Abstract to Concrete Design”  is installed at the European Institute of Design.

Missoni: The Art of Fabric in Motion is on view through April 4.