Founder of Italy’s Fashion House Missoni Dies at 92

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Ottavio Missoni, founder of the global family fashion empire that spawned the no-bra look and revolutionized textile patterns with its trademark bold stripes and zig-zag patterns, died on Thursday aged 92.

Their designs caught the attention of a¬†fashion world¬†that was turning away from high fashion towards “ready-to-wear” styles and they made a high-profile collaboration in 1965 with designer Emmanuelle Kahn.

“We tried to break the rules…we lived in very favorable times because it was the beginning of what then came to be called Pret-a-Porter,” Rosita said.

The Missonis tore up the rule book in 1967 with what become known as the “battle of the bras”.

Rosita had told models to remove their bras before sending them onto the runway at a major show in Florence so that the colors of the bras would not show through the knitwear.

But the bright lights at the shows made the outfits transparent. The Missonis were not invited back but the incident became a cause celebre and soon afterwards Missoni appeared on the covers of international fashion magazines including Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire.

The brand is now a dynasty that designs everything from sweaters to sheets to hotels.

The founders’ children and several grandchildren took over managing the company in 1996, aiming to relaunch the brand and attract a larger, younger market as rivals Gucci and Burberry have done.

Today, the company Ottavio and Rosita founded on a shoestring employs about 250 people and in 2011 had revenue of more than 150 million euros ($197.60 million).

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