Missoni's remit has always been colour - sometimes mixing up to twenty different shades of yarn in just one of their signature multipattern knits - but, for S/S 2011, they kicked that colour into overdrive. Forget mottled browns, reds or orange and replace with searing, acid pink, chartreuse, intense purple and brilliant orange. Those pop, poster-paint bright hues were the basis for knits that were just as crazy when it came to pattern, colliding the the traditional Missoni zig-zag weave with bands of solid colour and random block shapes, high-concept square hats only underlining the geometric feel.
Given the surface complexity of these pieces, shapes were kept simple, predominantly square, trapezoid and rectangles of knit wrapped and draped apron-style around the body, open at the sides as windows to other layers or skin beneath. But lo, there was more - swimming out of the mass of pattern were seemingly random English phrases - 'Honey', 'Baby', 'Give', 'Rock'. Scattered over the knitwear at will, they gave the impression of barely-understood English used for a typographic or even totemic value rather than to convey a message. Messages woven in bands and then 'stacked' resembled LED displays, while the contrasts of hot colour and black put one in mind of Harajuku neons. That felt appropriate, as there was a feel of Kansai Yamamoto's colourful eighties knits to much of the offering, and of British knit-wit duo Bodymaps' work from the same decade.
But where was Missoni in all this? Granted, the technical wizardry it takes to create this kind of clothing could only belong to them, but energetic as it was, the offering didn't seem to sit well with the house's established signature, or its fan-base. Margherita Missoni, young scion of this knitwear dynasty, looked fantastic sat cross-legged in the front row, twinning one of those intricate vintage-look intarsia crop-tops with high-waist American Apparel lycra trousers and a toned bared midriff. It's very difficult to imagine Missoni's polished clientele doing the same, though.