Inside Rosita Missoni’s Villa at the Foot of the Italian Alps

Just above Rosita Missoni’s mattress hangs an Impressionist-style oil portray by the 20th-century French artist Jacques-Henri Lartigue. Set in a gilded body, it depicts a backyard scene of bursting crimson, white and orange blooms and takes up virtually the whole wall. That the Missoni matriarch, who co-founded the namesake Italian trend home — finest recognized for its rainbow-hued, chevron-patterned knits — together with her husband, Ottavio Missoni, in 1953, sleeps beneath a piece that’s so daring and vibrant makes quite a bit of sense. The piece additionally goes effectively with the Missoni patchwork quilt, made of cotton triangles printed with orange, pink and purple stripes, that covers the mattress itself.

Art, flowers and materials are layered all through the home, a contemporary and ethereal two-story villa in Sumirago, some 30 miles northwest of Milan. Rosita and Ottavio (shortened by his household to Tai) constructed the house in 1971, just a few years after breaking floor on the Missoni knitwear manufacturing facility, which continues to be in operation and positioned barely a minute’s stroll away, down a wooded lane. “We wanted to live all the time where we would have liked to spend our weekends,” Rosita says of this verdant hole at the foot of the Italian Alps. She particularly appreciated that the property affords a view of Monte Rosa, which she may additionally see from her childhood house in the close by metropolis of Golasecca and which, at 90, she nonetheless finds pleasant. “Most days, I wake up and take a photo of the mountain,” she says, scrolling by her digital camera roll previous dozens of photos of the pink-tinged peak. Then, earlier than making her approach to her studio at the manufacturing facility, she may take a stroll by the property’s grounds and backyard — a softly sloping garden penned in by towering timber and blooming bushes — clipping coral peonies and blush pink dogwood blossoms as she goes. “I like all flowers except for white ones,” she pronounces whereas standing subsequent to a neon magenta azalea. “I need to be surrounded by color.”

The two-story, four,800-square-foot home is only a brief stroll away from the Missoni manufacturing facility.Credit…Caterina Viganò

Back inside, in the glassed-in eating room overlooking the backyard, Rosita arranges the stems with an professional’s eye, plucking at petals broken by a latest frost, however says, “Tai was the real gardener. Once, at our old home, I left for a weeklong trip to New York and came back to hundreds of new plants on the terrace. He’d created an entire jungle.” Ottavio is at the forefront of the Missoni household’s consciousness lately, as 2021 would have marked his 100th birthday and his and Rosita’s 68th wedding ceremony anniversary. Later, in the den, she factors out a photograph, taken in the moments earlier than his dying in 2013, of the pair’s palms clasped above a comforter. Indeed, a lot of the home speaks to their time collectively — as spouses, mother and father, grandparents and enterprise companions. Rosita first encountered him at the 1948 London Olympics — he was a competitor in monitor and discipline and she or he was a smitten spectator. They married in 1953 and shortly after started producing knit tracksuits, which led to their first ready-to-wear line in 1958. International acclaim arrived in the late 1960s when editors like Diana Vreeland and Anna Piaggi started to champion their designs.

“He was sympatico … sympatico!” Rosita says of Ottavio, who was recognized for the rollicking events he’d throw for his or her cabal of inventive mates, one supply of the house’s treasures. Take the paint-splotched palette given to the couple by Balthus that’s hung in the front room. As the story goes, for a few years Balthus was gifted a unique Missoni cardigan by a pricey buddy every Christmas. When the buddy died, the artist went straight to the supply, and a brand new friendship, between him and Rosita and Ottavio, blossomed. Also in the front room is a Murano glass tea set from Piaggi. Perched on prime of the glass case housing the set is a brass crown from the inside designer Eva Gunderson, who labored intently with Missoni for a number of years, that’s campily adorned with some of Rosita’s favourite issues: one other photograph of Ottavio; loops of pink and orange Missoni yarn and orange Missoni ribbon, the similar variety Rosita ties at the finish of her lengthy braid; and illustrations of crustaceans — in her youthful days, she was a dedicated scuba diver, and infrequently dove for tartufo di mare clams off the Dalmatian coast.

The rooms are crammed with presents from mates, comparable to a Murano glass tea set from Anna Piaggi and a brass crown from the inside designer Eva Gunderson.Credit…Caterina Viganò

But nostalgia isn’t the house’s major guiding drive. Rosita has continued gathering on her personal and is called a fixture at artwork festivals throughout Europe. Some of her favourite works in the home are a portray of a ballerina by the Italian Futurist Gino Severini that may be present in the front room and one other one of preening parrots by his fellow Futurist Fortunato Depero that hangs reverse the terrace door. Upstairs, in her bed room, there are sketches by the pioneering early 20th-century artist Sonia Delaunay, whose vivid, Cubist-adjacent quilts and oil work really feel like an apparent creative and non secular predecessor of Rosita’s personal inventive oeuvre.

While she now not oversees Missoni’s ready-to-wear collections — her daughter, Angela, took over in 1997 and stepped down in May of this 12 months — Rosita stays the inventive director of Missoni Home, the inside design and furnishing department of Missoni’s color-forward universe. This September, she is going to current Missoni Home’s newest assortment at the Salone del Mobile in Milan following the design truthful’s year-and-a-half hiatus on account of the pandemic.

Though a lot has modified for the household in the 50-plus years since Rosita and Ottavio settled in Sumirago, the house endures as a base for the household. It’s the de facto venue for birthday events and celebrations, when all 4 Missoni generations are current and the house’s floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doorways are pushed open, with revelers spilling out, glasses of wine and plates of risotto in hand, onto the terrace and garden. “People end up in every part of the home,” says Rosita. Fittingly, her most favourite work of artwork in the home is an iron sculpture that sits on the entranceway desk of a too-tall man sprouting, “Alice in Wonderland”-style, out of a home. “I bought this for Tai for his 80th birthday,” she says. “I always told him, ‘This house is too small for you.’ Because he always wanted to be out and about.” The couple have been regulars, as an illustration, at Milan’s La Scala opera home, and designed the costumes — purple knits and crimson tartans — for the theater’s 1983 manufacturing of Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” starring Luciano Pavarotti. But, regardless of having an condo in Milan, Rosita insists they by no means as soon as spent an evening there, at all times selecting to return to Sumirago after no matter occasion they’d attended, even when it meant they wouldn’t get there till the wee hours of the morning. “Tai liked to say, ‘It’s not about where you fall asleep,’” she recollects, “‘but where you wake up.’”