Conversation with: Missoni’s latest fashion exhibit at MA*GA
October 8, 2015
Fashion and art meet again at MA*GA’s current “Missoni, L’Arte, Il Colore” exhibition. The Gallarate-based museum (40 minutes from Milan) is showcasing a retrospective of Missoni’s 60 decades in fashion, along with a collection of iconic 20th-century artists. You will find Missoni’s family-owned Sonia Delaunay pieces and MA*GA’s own art, as well as Ottavio Missoni’s patchworks in what turns out to be the perfect showcase of color, textiles, pattern and textures.
Creative director Angela Missoni and her mother, Rosita, were very much involved in the curating process, as was her bother Luca and her cousin Angelo Jelmini, who took care of the show installation’s concept and production. So, who better than Angela herself to speak about the exhibition? See our Q&A below, and don’t miss this inspiring exhibit at MA*GA until November 15.
NM: Tell us about this Missoni exhibition in Milan. How many decades of Missoni collections are being showcased?
AM: The museum invited us to make this show on the occasion of the Missoni 60th anniversary in 2013. The idea was to showcase a selection of Missoni fashion together with Ottavio Missoni’s patchworks along six decades and to make them interact with a relevant selection of 20th-century Italian and European art, pieces of the MA*GA collection together with some pieces of my parents’ collection—of course, sympathetic with Missoni’s work with textures, patterns, colors.
NM: What does the MA*GA Museum in Gallarate mean to you and your family?
AM: Gallarate is the city where my parents started their business and their life as a married couple.
In 1953 they moved into a two-story house, with their apartment on the first floor and their laboratory on the ground floor.
NM: Which period of art or artist has influenced your work the most?
AM: The periods are several. From the 20th-century avant-garde: Delaunay, Balla, Depero, Klee, Kandinsky, De Chirico to the modern abstract, op, cinethic, pop experiences – Fontana,
Melotti, Licini, Dorazio, Accardi, Munari, Dadamaino, Colombo.
NM: Tell us about your favorite pieces form the exhibition?
AM: I love and feel especially attached to the Sonia Delaunay’s watercolors that my mother keeps on the wall of her bedroom. They were a present of my father, and they were included in the
MA*GA showcase. Then I like the Carla Accardi paintings, strong compositions of neat shapes and colors. To the point, I have included Accardi in my personal collection. Of course, the show
is full of other excellent artists and pieces, that, from Luigi Veronesi to Emilio Vedova are close to Missoni, contemporary to the work my parents were meanwhile making with looms, threads, knit textures, pattern, colors. The empathies of Ottavio’s patchworks with Italian and European art of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s are amazingly strong.
NM: How are the art and fashion pieces showcased in the museum connected to your current collection?
AM: The connection always remains that incredible language made of stitches, patterns and tones that my parents Rosita and Ottavio invented in the sixties and that became in the early seventies—that “put together” that has made the brand famous, successful and authoritative in the world of fashion from that moment on.
NM: Missoni is all about family. How is your family’s heritage represented collection after collection?
AM: We all share the memory, the mental archive of the brand’s past production and the daily making, the knowledge and the passion for what we keep making in the present, season after season. In a family business like Missoni, we all have grown up fully immersed in the tools of our
work, playing with them as children, and continuing to work/play with them when grown up.
NM: Were your mother, your siblings and your children involved in the curation of the exhibit?
AM: The contribution of my mother has been very important. She is and she remains today the best, most important testimonial of the Missoni’s historical and cultural excursus. She has been
lending some of her works of art to the MA*GA, and she has also included some in the show. My brother Luca and my cousin Angelo Jelmini were also taking care of the show installation’s concept and production. The kids were like a precious third eye, their comments and advice are always a source of freshness.
NM: What would you like visitors to take away after experiencing this exhibit?
AM: The braveness and talent of the 20th-century Italian creativity. That century has been full of great innovators we should be more aware of, and proud and grateful for.