European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World


Italian fashionprintstextile exhibitiontextile history

Missoni and the art of screen-printed fabrics at MA*GA Museum

What is screen printing? way more than a technique, it is a fascinating creative process, able to turn a predefined graphic image into something always new, and constantly evolving in its expressiveness through serial experimentation on colour.

In 1967 the Missoni surprisingly presented a memorable and singular fashion show at the Solari swimming pool in Milan which, according to the journalist Maria Pezzi, represented “the current style of fashion”. The collection featured long evening dresses in printed cotton knit with floral motifs in very bright colours, presented by models parading on floating and transparent inflatable armchairs .
The more commonly known experimentation in knitwear has always been accompanied by continuous artistic research on prints. The choice of designs was based not only on aesthetic criteria but also on functional reasons, especially related to the use of screen printing technique. The peculiarity of reproducing polychrome designs with the screen printing technique is that it allows to modify the colour at will during the printing phase.
The process goes like this: the design is first broken down into its graphic forms by selecting its different chromatic components. These colour areas are then associated with respective silk-screen printing frames created to be able to reproduce the defined area in the chosen colour.

The modification of the combinations of the paintings with different colours allows to print infinite chromatic variations of the same design, and originated the chromatisms that Ottavio experimented with and researched and from which Rosita would chose the ones to use for the creation of their clothes.

The technique is the same used by Andy Warhol, whose works are now featured in the show ‘Serial Identity’ at MA*GA Gallarate. In the┬áTapestry Room of the museum, Emma Zanella and Luca Missoni curated a display go of ‘test papers’ for the printing of drawings made between 1968 and 1969, coming from the Missoni Archive, which demonstrate how much the fashion creations of those disruptive years are still relevant today.