The show notes called it 'The Missoni Fairytale', and certainly there was a pre-teen air of Disney princess about the whole thing.
Missoni is better-placed than any other house to ride the new wave of seventies-meets-twenties nostalgia currently crashing through fashion. After all, Tai and Rosita Missoni made the company's name in the seventies through the rediscovery of a twenties knitting machine that would interweave up to sixty different yarns at once. And so the signature Missoni melange knit was born - and is still a mainstay of their daughter Angela Missoni's work today.
For the Autumn/Winter 2011 show, every one of those sixty shades was a sugary pastel - sherbet-lemon, parma violet, spearmint and periwinkle blue. The show notes called it 'The Missoni Fairytale', and certainly there was a pre-teen air of Disney princess about the whole thing - sweet, saccharine, so sugary it hurt the back of your teeth. So sugary, in fact, it was a little bit sickly - and that's what made it work. This was the world through rose-tinted glasses: a few pairs popped out too, on models working a biker-chic look with sweetie-box combat boots and slicked-back hair that seemed to be a cross between a mohican and a chignon. Angela Missoni's sugar has a snap to it, too.
The colour palette kept everything from looking too retro, considering that the shapes generally harked back to that twenties-seventies thing. Missoni's were better than many, with swaggering, confident maxi-coats in macro prince-of-wales check, billowing palazzo trousers in iridescent velvet, and floor-length languid chiffon dresses embroidered with bouquets of flowers. The knits, of course, were the focus - not only the kaleidoscopic Missoni yarns and lacework stitches, but thick, fluffy cable-knits dip-dyed in a degrade - from pale yellow into lilac, for example, or rose-beige into a rich, orangey peach. Those candy-cane shades seeped into fluffy mink, fox and even python, the latter patchworked into the hefty boots, clutch bags and a stand-out floor-skimming trench.
It was all in the grand Missoni tradition: if you rinsed it of the pastel colour, this collection could easily have been shown thirty years ago and elicited the same enthusiastic applause. As if to acknowledge that point, and the history of the house, Angela was joined by her father, and founder, Tai for her triumphant bow. It brought the house down.