Favourite Ensembles: S/S 2006 Missoni

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Missoni is one of those brands that defies seriousness so strongly, that I cannot help but associate it with a casual Italian summer; a holiday in the Bay of Naples, Campari and orange, sweet scents and glorious flora. There is something about the stripes, the rage of colourful patterns and the chic flop of the material that induces me to associate Missoni with the warmer time of year.

Even in the depths of winter, shivering from exiting the shower, I am transported to carefree days in the shadow of the glory and greatness of Rome and to the rippling sparkle and azure of the Amalfi coast when I wrap the famous striped towels around my body. For to me, I do not feel that I have arrived on holiday, particularly Italy, until I begin to dress in the Missoni way; a mix and match of colours, a relaxed and slightly retro fit.

This is another of my favourite ensembles, from the spring 2006 Missoni collection. The really standout item, as with many Missoni ensembles, is the knitwear. The colour matching and cheerful striping avoids mere preppyness; the different widths and cornucopia of tones are signature Missoni. To some eyes it might seem excessively bright, but the magnificence of it is the somewhat hypnotic effect in the way it draws the eyes down from the broadness of stripe on the chest to the narrowness of the waist.

The orange belt is a clever addition; the trousers are uneventful and though checked, are too subtle to compete with the knitwear. Consequently, the belt draws some of the fruity colour down from the top half into the lower half. And though the lower half is indeed less colourful, it is well matched -  rather like a cocktail that unites something exotic with something plain; making the whole better than the sum of the parts.

The shoes are the one thing that did not initially appeal to me. I considered them a little moody in tone considering the punch of the rest but on further reflection, they finish off the outfit completely. White shoes, which I had considered more appropriate at first, might actually downgrade the outfit from being a healthy stab at retro to being like something from 1970s Monaco; a little cliché and ever so slightly trashy. The blue suede is far more subtle, if a little artisan or geek-chic.

The parts that really add lustre to this appealing outfit are the deep salmon pink shirt and the ever-so-skinny knitted scarf. The cuffs of the shirt are particularly appealing, folded up over the sleeve bottoms of the v-neck, reaffirming the delivery of this ensemble as something for the summer and I do like that only the top button of the shirt is undone; I have begun to find, in some outfits, that doing so retains the structure of a shirt better. The scarf, while most will doubtless consider it rather too decorative and absurdly lacking in function, actually lifts this outfit from being a delightful but practical v-neck, shirt and trouser combination into an outfit that could be excused at the most demanding of summer venue or occasion. It furthers perfectly the uniqueness that Missoni have rightly been credited for promoting.


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Winston Chesterfield is an amateur composer, fashion blogger, trained lawyer and style aficionado. He lives in Westminster, London and blogs at www.levraiwinston.com.