Today’s Fashion Headlines: Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013 • Fashion Blog


The Life of Ottavio Missoni

Ottavio Missoni, who founded the iconic Missoni fashion brand with his wife Rosita, died Thursday at his home in Sumirago, Italy. He was 92. On May 1, Missoni, known by his nickname Tai, was hospitalized for a cardiac problem but was released later that evening.

A wake will be held for Tai Missoni on Sunday in the Missoni company courtyard in Sumirago, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The funeral will be held on Monday at 2:30 p.m. in the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Gallarate. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Camphill Special School in Glenmoore, PA.

Missoni was born in 1921 in Ragusa, Italy, on the Dalmatian coast, to Teresa De Vidovich, countess of Capocesto and Ragosniza, and Vittorio Missoni, a sea captain. By 1942, he was already a track star, but he suffered in World War II, fighting at El Alamein and being held as a British prisoner of war in Egypt for four years.

Running was a natural gift, and his nickname was “Son of Apollus.” Missoni made the Italian national team when he was 16, and at the time of his death still held the national 400-meter record for a 16-year-old. Wool and sports were a recurring theme in his life, while schooling was not a priority. He celebrated his 90th birthday in 2011 with “a good glass of wine” and an autobiography, “Una vita sul filo di lana.” 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, since a thread was held across the finish line of a race before the arrival of photo finishes. And he remained active throughout his life. At the Italian track-and-field championship in Cosenza, Italy, in 2011, he won a gold medal in both the shot put and the javelin, and a silver medal in the discus, all in the over-90 age category.

Running also led to him meeting his lifelong partner, Rosita Jelmini, in 1948, when he was competing in the London Olympics. She was on an English language course chaperoned by the Swiss Sisters of the Holy Cross. “After visiting castles and museums, the nuns concurred that a trip to Wembley [where the Olympics were held] was a must,” she recalled. The pair married in 1953.

With his wife, Missoni introduced a groundbreaking brand and built an enduring family business. The Missonis were often described as “color geniuses” and were the first to make coordinating separates in different patterns, a zigzag top with a polka dot skirt, for example.

In 1962, they launched the zigzag motif. “We could only do stripes, and then we started doing horizontal and vertical and little by little added more complicated stitches, plaids and jacquards,” explained Rosita. “Then we found the Raschel machines that do the zigzag, and that was that. My grandparents had used them to make multicolored embroidered shawls with big rose patterns and long fringes, all hand knotted. The kind you throw over lamp shades.”

In 1967, Missoni’s first boutique opened in Milan and the brand scored its first fashion magazine cover, on Elle. The company also rapidly expanded outside Italy, selling in Paris for the first time in 1967 and, by the following year, in America. “We already sold to U.S. department stores through Italian buying offices, but it was Diana Vreeland who gave us a real helping hand,” said Rosita Missoni. In 1970, Bloomingdale’s opened the brand’s first in-store boutique and, in 1973, the Missonis received the Neiman Marcus Award.

In 1978, the Missonis showed their spring collection, accompanied by a 25-year retrospective, at New York’s Whitney Museum. Tai’s work was exhibited at Trieste’s Galleria Torbandena — one of many such exhibitions that would follow. For example, in 1994, the couple received the Pitti Immagine Prize and, in honor of the award, the “Missonologia” exhibit opened in Florence. The house was included in the “Italian Metamorphosis 1943–1968” show at the Guggenheim in New York in 1994.

In 1993, Tai was named a Cavaliere al merito del Lavoro by the Italian government. In 1999, the couple was awarded honorary doctorates from Central Saint Martins in London and San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and also picked up the Dallas Historical Society’s Stanley Award. Beginning in 1996, Tai and Rosita gradually passed control of their fashion empire to their children Luca, Vittorio and Angela, when they handed their design responsibilities to their daughter. Tai and Rosita’s solid family values were passed on to their children and to the third generation, and theirs was a tightly knit clan, with its members all characterized by a remarkable lack of pretension. For a few seasons, the family ironically and happily posed for the brand’s ad campaigns.

Khroma Beauty To Be Renamed Kardashian Beauty

The name change is being made to end the legal dispute between Boldface, holder of the license for the Kardashian beauty brand, and Lee Tillett Inc., an Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based company that sells a line called Kroma Makeup. The latest development in the case was an appeal brought by Boldface to reverse U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge Audrey Collins’ decision issuing a preliminary injunction, which was immediately stayed upon appeal, blocking the manufacture, sale and marketing of Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian. “Boldface, along with Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, are looking to the future and see this change as a positive move forward,” said Nicole Ostoya, chief executive officer of Boldface. “We’re confident that it’s not the name that matters to our fans, but the Kardashian sisters’ commitment to making this line a true reflection of their love for cosmetics.”

The line launched in October of last year at Ulta Beauty before a full rollout of 60 stockkeeping units across the eye, lip, face and nail categories in the first quarter of this year. As of March, the brand was headed to more than 5,000 doors, including Duane Reade, CVS, Sears and H-E-B.

Boldface is planning on selling through its current stock of products under the original name. Kardashian Beauty will hit shelves in three to four weeks.

Boldface has paid an advance of $1 million to the Kardashian sisters, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filings also reveal Boldface has agreed to pay minimum royalties to them of roughly $4.7 million to $5.2 million. The licensing agreement with the Kardashian sisters runs through Nov. 30, 2016.

Vanity Fair Sits Down With John Galliano

John Galliano has refused interviews since a drunken anti-Semitic outburst at a Paris bar two years ago cost him his job at Christian Dior, and much of his reputation. But he’s been slowly mounting a return to the fashion world, first with a “designer in residence” spot at Oscar de la Renta and, later, with an anticipated teaching gig at Parsons The New School for Design, an invitation that was rescinded this week. The public campaign kicks into higher gear in the July issue of Vanity Fair, where the designer gives his first extensive interview since his exile from fashion.

Presumably Galliano again expresses contrition for his behavior and hope for a return to design, but details have been kept under wraps and not much is known about the Vanity Fair interview beyond its broad scope. Asked to comment on the subject of the interview, Galliano’s publicist Liz Rosenberg said, “I have no idea because I haven’t seen the article.” Negotiations before such a high-profile interview would include discussion of any topics that might be covered, but Rosenberg declined to go into specifics or why Vanity Fair was chosen as the vehicle for Galliano’s awaited confessional. One advantage Vanity Fair had is that the interview was conducted by Ingrid Sischy, whose position as the coeditor of Italian, German and Spanish Vanity Fairs likely means broad play among several international editions, an attractive selling point for someone eager to make a bold reemergence.

Selicia A. Walker

Source:Women’s Wear Daily

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