Style classics: The Missoni scarf

Style classics: The Missoni scarf

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 8 November 2012

For those who love a splash of rainbow colour, the Missoni scarf is the perennially chic choice.

The Italian label that made its name with kaleidoscopic, zig-zag knits was founded by Ottavio ‘Tai’ Missoni and Rosita Jelmini in Italy in 1953.

Tai was born in Dubrovnik, the son of a sea captain and a noblewoman, and was a successful athlete before World War II.

Missoni magic: Actress Sienna Miller is a big fan of the Italian brand

Missoni magic: Actress Sienna Miller is a big fan of the Italian brand

After the war — most of which he spent in a PoW camp in Egypt — he set up a workshop making wool tracksuits, which were worn by the Italian team in the 1948 London Olympics.

He fell in love with Rosita, whose parents made shawls. A fashion dynasty was born.

The couple set up a small knitwear workshop and their bright, fine-knit scarves, dresses and sweaters were an instant hit. It was their 1967 show in Florence that put them on the map — Rosita thought the models’ bras showed through the thin sweaters and ordered them to take off their underwear.

The fabric became transparent under the lights — outrage and a huge sales boost ensued.

Missoni scarf, 95, netaporter.com

Missoni scarf, 95, netaporter.com

In the Seventies, Missoni cornered the market in the laid-back, bohemian look. After falling out of fashion favour with the advent of Nineties minimalism, the label has enjoyed a revival under the direction of Tai and Rosita’s daughter, Angela, who is creative director.

Next year marks Missoni’s 60th anniversary — you can celebrate with one of their bright, tasselled scarves (pictured above and worn by the likes of Sienna Miller, top), from 95 (net-a-porter.com).