September 21, 2017
By Noelani Piters
HOW TO SPOT A REAL MISSONI DRESSSHOP MISSONI
When you think about the epitome of knitwear, it’s impossible to envision any designer other than Missoni. The Italian brand has been turning out the most striking of knits since 1953, when Ottavio and Rosita Missoni founded their label. But even before the couple embarked on creating their knitwear dynasty, Ottavio “Tai” Missoni was an Olympic athlete with an extraordinary eye for fashion. In addition to competing, he also produced knit tracksuits for the Italian team to wear at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. After meeting in London and eventually marrying, Ottavio and Rosita quickly started their own knitwear business, originally called Maglificio Jolly — or “Joker Knitwear” in English.
Years (and a name change) later, Missoni continues to thrive under Angela Missoni, one of the couple’s three children, who reimagines the brand’s iconic patterns season after season. Missoni’s archives include hundreds of colorful patterns, including the chevron or zigzag motif, which has been around since 1962. There’s no question that Missoni’s vibrant patterns are instantly recognizable, but the brand’s much-loved whimsicality has made it highly susceptible to counterfeiting. Since we’re only concerned with all things authentic, we asked our resident expert and Senior Director of Authentication Graham Wetzbarger to help us spot a real Missoni dress.
Missoni Dress Construction
When assessing the authenticity of a Missoni dress, the first thing to look at is the knit itself. “Missoni is known for their technical knits, saturated colors and beautiful chevrons,” states Wetzbarger. “The quality of the knit should be just as beautiful at the interior as it should at the exterior.” Many Missoni garments are constructed from open knits, and though they may appear delicate, in actuality they will be strong and resilient.
A tell-tale sign of a real Missoni knit is also the way in which it’s finished. Seams and garment edges will have a standard overlock stitch throughout, which combines a straight stitch with a zigzag stitch. “With some other luxury designers, overlocking could be an indicaton of a counterfeit because it’s an easy way to finish the seams,” says Wetzbarger. “But it’s really the only way to stabilize a knit from unraveling. It should not be a red flag on Missoni items.”
Missoni Dress Materials & Hardware
Because of the properties of knitwear, there’s little need for zippers or any type of hardware on a knit dress. And while Missoni dresses will typically be made of either viscose, rayon or polyester, you’ll often find silk linings in lieu of synthetics. “You get that luxurious touch against the body,” notes Wetzbarger.
If you come across a dress with an “M Missoni” tag, don’t worry, that’s just Missoni’s diffusion line. Since the two lines maintain the same aesthetic, telling the two apart at a glance can be tricky. But other than the difference in labels, all M Missoni items are manufactured in China, and will state as much on their tags. On Missoni dresses, the fiber content and care tag will read, “Missoni / Made In Italy / Sumirago (VA) / Italia,” highlighting the town north of Milan where Missoni was founded and continues to produce their products.
Missoni Dress Brand Identifiers
Since counterfeits abound in the resale marketplace, many brands have taken preventative steps to keep fakes at bay. Missoni is one brand that has embraced cutting-edge technology with the inclusion of RFID tags (other adopters include Moncler and Salvatore Ferragamo). New Missoni garments include white microchipped RFID tags, which are sewn into a side seam and hold unique codes that can be scanned. “RFID tags cost money, so you’re not going to find them in a lot of counterfeits,” states Wetzbarger.
And where would Missoni be without their signature brick orange label? The most recognizable brand identifier will be sewn into the neck of the garment or, occasionally, into the side seam. “It will be a woven jacquard label, and Missoni should be in serif capital letters with an oval around it,” says Wetzbarger.
Ready to indulge in some luxe Italian knitwear? Shop our selection of authentic Missoni dresses here.
All items are pre-owned and consigned to The RealReal. Trademarks are owned by their respective brand owners. No brand owner endorses or sponsors this ad or has any association and/or affiliation with The RealReal.