Missoni Founder Dead: How Did Ottavio Missoni Die? 92-Year-Old Italian Fashion House Founder 'Passed Away Peacefully' [REPORT]

By John D. Ersing May 9, 2013 10:29 AM EDT
Missoni founder dead

Missoni founder Ottavio is dead. (Photo: Reuters)

Missoni founder Ottavio is dead. The Italian fashion house's founder Ottavio Missoni died this morning at age 92 in his home, family has confirmed. "He passed away peacefully," they said in a statement, although no further details have been released to the public as of yet.

The Missoni founder's family will confirm the date and time of the funeral once arrangements are made. Ottavio founded a knitwear company focusing on woolen tracksuits for athletes after serving in war in WWII and serving time as a prisoner of war in Egypt. His garments were worn by the Italian Olympic team in 1948.

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The dead Missoni founder became engaged in 1951 to his wife Rosalita and they married in 1953. They both co-founded the fashion label Missoni, which has since been synonymous with bold, patterned knitwear. "I've never done what was fashionable," Ottavio said in 2011. "I didn't want to work with preset schemes, and I paint my own way. I ended up in fashion by chance, I would never have imagined it."

The Missoni founder was born in 1921 in Dubrovnik to an Italian sea captain and the Countess of Capocesto and Ragosniza. He was captured by the English in World War II while a soldier in Africa and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Egypt.

The dead Missoni legend returned to Italy following his release and started his knitwear company with his friend Giorgio Oberweger. Missoni was a renowned track runner prior to his military service, and so he focused his design efforts on his woolen tracksuits for athletes to practice in. The track suits were work by the Italian team at the 1948 Olympics, the competition in which Ottavio also participated.

The dead Missoni founder launched the eponymous brand at a boutique called Biki in Milan where the couple worked with Louis Hidalgo and brand La Rinascente in 1955. By the late 1960s, the Missoni brand became famous. Known for its knit dresses, coats and jumpers, the company was largely recognized for having renewed the popularity of knits.

The most popular knitwear technique used by the dead Missoni founder's fashion label is the recognizable Missoni zigzag. They also explore motifs rendered in stripes, geometrics and abstract florals in a cacophony of colors. They also use a variety of different fabrics, such as rayon, silk, cotton and wool.

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