Missoni is an Italian fashion house based in Varese. It is famous for its unique knitwear, made from a variety of fabrics in colourful patterns. The company was founded by Ottavio ("Tai") and Rosita Missoni in 1953.
Tai Missoni was born in 1921 in Dubrovnik, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes and formerly known as Ragusa. His father, Vittorio Missoni, was an Italian sea captain (and son of a Friulano magistrate transferred in the then Austrian- ruled Dalmatia) and his mother, Teresa de' Vidovich Countess di Capocesto e Ragosniza, was a dalmatian-Italian noblewoman. Before WWII he was an international athlete, but spent most of the war as a POW in Egypt. After the war he set up a workshop with his friend Giorgio Oberweger, making wool track-suits. His "Venjulia" tracksuits were adopted by the Italian team at the 1948 Olympics in London, and Tai himself qualified for the final of the 400m hurdle race. At Wembley he met Rosita Jelmini, daughter of a family of shawl makers in Golasecca in the province of Varese.
The early 1970s saw Missoni reach the peak of their influence in the fashion world. Tai Missoni then became more interested in other projects, everything from designing costumes for La Scala, to designing carpets and tapestries. Rosita has admitted that in the 1990s she lost interest in fashion, before handing over to her daughter Angela in 1998. Rosita now is responsible for overseeing the design of all home projects.
Ottavio Missoni was Sindaco (Mayor) of Libero Comune di Zara in Esilio (Free Commune of Zadar in Exile)