Rosita Missoni clearly loves life. She also loves the simple luxuries of life, and so it comes as no surprise that she has created a home interiors line that honors the philosophy of her iconic brand.
Along with husband Ottavio Missoni, Rosita Missoni is a leader of patterned knitwear, having established the brand in 1953. Their creations are known for bold stripes as well as geometric and floral prints in colors that run the whole spectrum of the rainbow.
The brand is so uniquely identifiable not only in appearance but in quality and character. With brother Alberto Jelmini, CEO of Missoni Home, Rosita Missoni explains that the brand has always been a family effort. Missoni’s children and nieces are all involved in the business.
In 1998, Rosita Missoni decided to shift from designing the women’s wear collections to home interiors. “I’d had enough of fashion 10 years ago.If you lose the passion it becomes a duty and it is the hardest duty you can have … I didn’t want to go out and see what was happening. You have to become part of the life and the world of fashion to know what’s going on.
Having given the helms to her daughter Angela, she played for a while with what she called “the role of the grandmother, and stepped away from design. “Living close to the factory, I was always going in to deal with PR correspondence for the brand. But I had an epiphany and realized I can’t just be doing that.
With the support of her family, she decided to change Missoni Home’s already existing brand. “Missoni Home had lost the real identity, innovation, and I wanted it to be more like fashion. And I realized that home was becoming fashionable, so I said to my children how about we create a home line? she recalled.
“I become quite demanding when I want to do something, but I think my children also felt it was the moment to give a lift to the whole collection, she added, laughing.
Today Missoni Home offers what Rosita Missoni labels as a whole “lifestyle concept. Not only does she design home interiors, but she is also the creative director of the new Missoni Hotel brand, offering what she considers to be essentials for travelers.
Having just recently attended the soft opening of the first Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, Scotland, her excitement at the project’s completion is infectious. “I was very worried about the soft opening, and I am difficult, I am passionate. But it has come out so well. What I wanted to transmit besides the whole Missoni lifestyle is a subtle kind of luxury: good service, comfort . the beds are so comfortable.
Her approach to decorating the hotel’s interior is the same approach she has to designing her Missoni Home collections. “The Missoni lifestyle is to enjoy, so all the furniture is very comfortable.
Showing pictures off a personal camera, Alberto and Rosita share snapshots from the hotel’s soft opening. Images of the restaurant show a chef greeting diners in a kilt made from Missoni fabric; highly amusing and characteristic of Missoni’s ability to add a touch of stylish humor to the setting. It is a veritable Missoni world as cutlery, table runners, and tableware are all Missoni prints of stripes and polka dots.
Her son Luca’s images are also hanging on the wall. He is an ardent astronomer, capturing images of the different phases of the moon through his telescope and adding a variety of colors to the canvas. The effect is a sort of pop art that compliments the rest of the restaurant’s interior and the pictures evoke a casual hip/contemporary elegance.
Bearing in mind that all the interior work is that of a 77-year “young designer (as Missoni likes to refer to her age), it’s so incredibly funky.
She is the embodiment of hip herself. During our interview she mixed and matched polka-dot socks and layered a Missoni geometric kimono-esque top with bell sleeves over a long sleeved shirt. She paired bangles with silver earrings and a wooden ring.
Her fashion pairings are synchronized with current trends, if not one step ahead. Yet there’s an ungraspable well of creativity from Missoni that carries with it a sense of longevity. Not anyone can design with the same eye or flair as she does. And not anyone can translate a particular vision to her own appearance as well as a hotel’s interior.
Missoni’s basic concept was in using a black and white palette with touches of color to the walls and accessories. “For me, color is luxury because it gives the joy and mood, said Missoni.
“I started with a black and white [palette], curtains, and fringes. I didn’t want carpets; I wanted rugs in the bedroom and wooden floors so it’s easy to clean because for me, cleanliness is luxury. Beds are white with a colorful throw, and the walls are played with frog green, blue, red. The rooms are not large but luxurious nevertheless.
“My daughter Angela and son Luca were there because his art was hanging on the walls.all of us were so pleased. The city is so beautiful and so every window overlooks something nice in terms of architecture. And that is also a luxury, looking out onto something beautiful.
“I just follow my feelings, she said of her consistently novel designs. “We do things with passion, and my husband is a great artist.
And just like one can experience a Missoni world in a hotel, Jelmini pointed out that one can bring that experience home just as boldly: “We’re opening here in Art of Form with the help of Shaden Abdel Hak because stores need a total look from which one can make their selection inside, and why you have been chosen is because you can give your whole style.
The current collection showing is of brightly colored pink, orange and green cacti, a print inspired by Missoni’s research to satisfy her desire to plant a cacti garden in the next Missoni Hotel to open in Kuwait. There are candles, rugs, carpets and chandeliers with long silky fringes.
“We’re producing accessories that have more or less the same approach of a fashion brand. Because sometimes you need a very important part or something that is expensive or you need to change everything to give the right atmosphere. But if you have a very nice pair of affordable cushions as part of this, you can start to give a lift to the home, said Jelmini.
Big and smaller pillows with cacti or checkered print can be matched or mixed. There is so much to play with both functionally and aesthetically.
Small poufs can serve as foot stools or make shift side tables, available also in classic black and white Missoni striping.
But Jelmini does point out that some other pieces that are part of the new collection displayed in the Art of Form showroom are expensive, such as the armchairs and beds on display.
They are collector’s items in a sense. Shiny silver upholstery with typical Missoni chevron zigzags subtly embossed on an armchair and bed show how such a fusion of classic patterns with the modern shapes and colors of contemporary furniture design can become timeless, easy to have and live with in one’s home for decades.
On how she remains inspired, Missoni said: “I play with many things that I like – but I like many things. Art of Form opened its showroom on June 6 at Designopolis, the new furniture strip mall on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road. The sprawling store brings together high-end furniture brands from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands all under one roof.