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Milan Fashion Week: Missoni spins an elegant cocoon

January 16, 2010 |  4:25 pm
Reporting from Milan -- Instead of a traditional runway show, Missoni's Fall/Winter 2010 collection was staged as a static presentation on the evening before, in an outdoor space that felt like part barn and part patio. While the models struck poses on the wooden floorboard stage, the crowd milled about sipping Campari cocktails and nibbling Parmesan cheese shaved to snowflake consistency and served in paper cones.

Rage_missoni The feeling of hospitality was not by accident. "It's the night before the first shows, and I wanted to create a warm family atmosphere where everyone could cool down from their flights and just relax," said creative director Angela Missoni. "For my family, fashion shows are like Christmas or Easter -- it's a chance to get together and have a party."

It was a family affair indeed, and among the three generations mingling in the crowd on Friday night (her parents, Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, and daughter Margherita to name just two) was Angela's 20-year-old nephew Marco Missoni, who she noted proudly was making his fashion modeling debut with the show. (In that family it's probably the equivalent of your bar mitzvah or debutante ball.)

It was easy to imagine that stylish men of every (zig-zag) stripe could actually pull off the pieces like the oversize knit cozy cardigans and the button-front shirts with rounded collar points.

The trademark Missoni zig-zag was there, alongside a grab bag of pinstripes, patchworks and woven geometric patterns. It was a predominantly gray color palette with some pops of burnt orange and an eye-catching color Missoni referred to as "Matisse blue."

With the slim trousers, rounded shoulder jackets and sweaters and the layering of pieces -- shirts, waistcoats, sweaters and sheepskin-lined overcoats topped off with ultra-long scarves -- the effect was a kind of enveloping, elegant Missoni-spun cocoon.

Afterward, Missoni told me the starting point for the collection had been a movie poster from "Gangs of New York" that hung on her wall. "What I wanted was a real man -- masculine -- I was going for a contemporary gang. I wanted to give it a cross-cultural feel. Like a contemporary gang but with jackets that remind you of a Persian carpet. This generation likes to blend everything together to find a kind of harmony."

So just think of the Fall/Winter 2010 collection as a menswear multigenerational mash-up -- Missoni-style.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Marco Missoni, 20, nephew of Missoni's creative director Angela Missoni, right, wears a look from the Fall/Winter 2010 men's collection. He made his fashion modeling debut at the presentation on Friday night, on the eve of fashion week in Milan. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times.

Missoni Men's Fall/Winter 2010 Gallery

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