(NEW YORK) Missoni patriarch Ottavio “Tai” Missoni died this morning, aged 92. The Missoni family issued a statement today that Ottavio “passed away peacefully” surrounded by his family at his home in Sumirago, Italy. The wake will be held on Sunday, May 12th, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the courtyard of the headquarters in Sumirago. The funeral will be held on Monday, May 13th, at 2:30 p.m. at the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta in Gallarate. The saddening news comes just four months after Ottavio’s son, Vittorio Missoni, and daughter-in-law, Maurizia Castiglioni, went missing off the coast of Venezuela while flying home to Italy. The Islander YV2615 carrying the Missoni couple, two additional passengers, a crew member, and the pilot has yet to be found, although two bags on the aircraft belonging to Missoni were found on the island of Bonaire, in the Netherland Antilles, in February.
Ottavio started his career in 1942 as a star tracklete, joining the Italian national team at the age of 16. However, his athletic trajectory was sidelined with the onset of WWII, where he was held as a prisoner of war in Egypt for four years. Following the end of the war, Ottavio began creating wool track suits worn by the Italian Olympic team in London in 1948, where he also competed in the 400-meter hurdles. It was at this international sporting event that he met his wife and business partner, Rosita Missoni, who was travelling abroad for an English language course. The two married in 1953, and set up a knitwear workshop perfecting their signature mix ‘n’ match prints and zig-zag motif. Their eponymous label officially launched in 1958, and was passed down to their children—Angela, Luca, and Vittorio—in 1996. Currently, their granddaughter, Margherita Missoni, serves as accessories director and Rosita, age 82, continues to oversee Missoni Home.
The Missoni family asks that donations be made in lieu of flowers to Camphill Special School in Glenmore, PA. To gift, visit the “donate now” section at www.camphillspecialschool.org.