A brand is a complex being. How do you tell its story, and illuminate its identity? Missoni has decided to answer that with an art retrospective that delves deeply into the brand’s rich history, providing insightful glimpses into one of the world’s most iconic brands. This is an exhibition all about roots, re-telling the story of a family-run business that started in a small basement in Gallarate, near Milan, where Missoni first opened in 1953.
This retrospective goes back to where it all started and is on show at the MA*GA, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Gallarate in northern Italy, until 8 November 2015. Titled "Missoni, L’arte, Il colore", it charts Missoni’s meteoric rise to fashion powerhouse, tracking the references and influences that have come to define it as one of the most artistically charged brands on the global scene. The exhibition perfectly conveys the brand’s core values and the dualism that underpins the Missoni philosophy: craft, quality and authenticity effortlessly married with innovation, fantasy and creativity.
The show is an inevitable stage of light and colour, a scenography conceived to frame an intimate narrative showcasing works by Ottavio Missoni, founder of the company with his wife, Rosita, affectionately known as “Maestro del Colore” (master of colour). The show presents a selection of works from the family’s vast collection as well as loans from museums — including artists such as Sonia Delaunay, Gino Severini, Osvaldo Licini, Bruno Munari, Vasilij Kandinskij, Fausto Melotti and Lucio Fontana — in dialogue with key clothing pieces from the brand’s archive.
The first section of the exhibition, titled "Roots", sheds light on the origins of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni’s research, their initial resources and sources of inspiration in the fields of visual arts and fashion. Pictured here are artworks by 20th-century artists, including "Iridescent Interpenetration" by Italian Futurist painter Giacomo Balla (above).
The artworks on show were typical of the avant-garde art movements springing up in Europe, which influenced and inspired the Missonis. These include the lyrical abstract art of Sonia Delaunay, Kandinsky and Klee, the dynamic Futurism of Balla and Severini, and geometric sculpture and abstract art such as "Ritmo" by painter Osvaldo Licini (above).
Study for a tapestry by Ottavio. The art form offered him a unique way to concentrate his unlimited and wide-ranging interests in material and colour in both fashion and in art. For more on the exhibition, visit Missoni's coverage here.