The Women's Room has lived in London for a long time and often we think we've been everywhere, but we haven't by a very long shot. Have you been to the Estorick Collection of modern Italian art in Canonbury Square and seen their covetable collection of Modiglianis? No, neither had we. As an added bonus from now until 20th September there is the Workshop Missoni: Daring to be Different exhibition to see too and it's a must if you like knitting, craft or Missoni.
The exhibition was curated by Luca Missoni, son of founders Rosita and Ottavio Missoni, who together with his sister Angela, now design for the company. Over three floors of small rooms there is an assortment of Missoni designs, swatch heavy mood boards, lots of artwork, video from dance projects the company has been involved with and a film on how the Missoni family keeps it all together. All interspersed with those Modiglianis.
The Woman's Room met with the charming Luca, who explained to us that in his opinion, there were two types of Missoni customers, those who loved and understood the fact that Missoni was driven by futurism, art, investment in Italian family values, the company heritage and the importance of a quality fabric (that would be us) and those that bought stuff because it was a luxury brand and it looked nice.
Luca also made a mesmerizing film of a working loom in the company's Italian factory which plays in a room that has a floor to ceiling shelf stacked with bolts of colourful yarn while the walls are lined with family snaps shots. The whirr of clicking machines plays continually throughout the exhibition and he agrees it could be the sound track to his envable life. If you go do watch The Black and White of Colour film that explains the Missoni history and shows the beautiful family home stuffed with art, sculpture and other lovely stuff we'd rather like ourselves.
There is also a cute cafe selling Italian inspired salads and pastries served by lovely Italian staff who will hustle you into the tree lined garden to enjoy your lunch or coffee shaded by Missoni striped umbrellas and surrounded by giant mosaic urns. Be warned though, a visit is likely to inspire you to head for the nearest shop selling Missoni (expensive, although beautiful) or you can pick up a Missoni umbrella in the exhibition shop.
The Estorick Collection is at 30a Canonbury Square, London N1 2AN.
Not open Monday and Tuesday
The Missoni exhibition is on until the 20th September and costs £5. The nearest stockist for Missoni (for your product fix) is Selfridges or Browns on South Molten Street.