European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

Object Voices / Il Fiammato

1970sdanceItalian fashionknitwear

Experimentation and fun are two keywords to understand Missoni’s approach to fashion – here is the story of a particular technique to dye the yarn and turn it into a unique item

Another particular experimentation made by Ottavio and Rosita in the second half of the 1960s  was the use of a particular yarn that was dyed in a special old way named fiammato, or space-dyed.


A hank of yarn was partially and repeatedly immersed in 2, 3 or more colours, creating a colour sequence on the yarn itself. This yarn was usually used for embroidery to create shades and colour tones and was typically a rayon-viscose and Rosita Missoni knew its use very well having always seen it at work in her childhood in the family’s factory.

They tried to see what was coming out using it on their knitting machines and experimenting with different colour combination. As a result they got fading symmetrical geometries in a totally unpredictable pattern. You could decide the colour sequence but not the outcome of the pattern which kept a kind of its own improvisation, a life of its own.

For these features the space-dyed has been chosen to create the costumes for the Ballet ‘Step into my Dream’ choreographed by David Parsons in 1994 and later in 2003 for the Modern Dance show AEROS performed by the Romanian Gymnastic Federation.

“In creating the costumes for AEROS we use flowing jerseys in rich solid colors and vibrant body-suites in space-dyed stretch yarns to capture the speed of movement in the Energy and Fun themes and to enhance sensuality in the Aesthetics and Magic elements of the show.”

Luca Missoni