The Amazing Life Of Fashion Legend Ottavio Missoni, 1921-2013

Where would fashion be without that iconic zigzag print? Here’s a look back at the life of a man who started it all.

1. The fashion community mourns the loss of Ottavio Missoni.

The founder of the iconic label bearing his name passed away Thursday morning at his home in Sumirago, Italy, at the age of 92. The cause of death remains unclear, but Missoni was treated for a respiratory condition last week, according to The New York Times. In a statement, the Missoni label said he “passed away serenely,” and that an announcement about funeral arrangements is forthcoming.

3. Before Missoni started his label, he was an accomplished Olympic athlete.

He competed as a hurdler in the 1948 London Olympic Games, representing Italy. He came in sixth in the competition.

4. Ottavio founded Missoni in 1953 with his wife Rosita, who came from a family of knitwear designers.

He and Rosita started by designing knit tracksuits for athletes. The couple — pictured here on their wedding day in April 1953 — designed together, but Ottavio is credited with inventing Missoni’s signature zigzag prints that remain hugely popular today. The Missonis showed in Milan for the first time in 1958.

5. The label really started taking off in the mid-’60s when Rosita brought French stylist Emmanuelle Khanh on as a collaborator.

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Here, the couple fit a model in their atelier in 1968.

6. Ottavio used graph paper to make the Missoni label’s iconic prints.

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Here he is at is desk in 1968.

7. The Missonis went on to have three children: Angela, Luca, and Vittorio.

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Pictured: Ottavio embracing Angela in Italy, 1968.

8. The Missonis worked tirelessly on their line and runway shows for decades before ceding control of the company to their children.

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During the late 1990s the Missoni’s ceded control of the company to their children, who continue to run it today.

Four months before Ottavio’s death, Vittorio — Missoni’s CEO — went missing off the Venezuelan coast in a small plane that was carrying four other passengers. The plane’s disappearance remains a mystery.

Pictured: Ottavio with a model backstage at a show in 1984.

9. Here, Ottavio poses with Rosita in a pile of their iconic fabrics.

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In 1984.

Another shot of the couple from 1984.

11. Ottavio was a signature presence at Missoni shows throughout his life.

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Here, he receives applause after a 1995 show in Milan.

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Here, he closes the Missoni spring/summer 1997 show with Rosita in Milan.

13. His grandchildren — Margherita, Francesco, and Teresa Missoni — are becoming fashion icons in their own right.

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Here they are together in 2009.

14. Ottavio appeared in a Missoni ad campaign shot by Juergen Teller featuring the family.

Spring/summer 2012.

The campaign included three generations of Missonis.

16. He was an expected presence at fashion events.

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With Angela and Rosita in Milan, 2011.

17. He will be deeply missed by the fashion community at large.

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April 11, 2011, in Milan, Italy.

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