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Missoni takes inspiration from West Africa

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COLLEEN BARRY | June 23, 2013 04:27 PM EST | AP

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MILAN — Angela Missoni looked to West Africa for inspiration for her menswear collection for next summer: its colors, its weaves and its accents.

The mood of the collection previewed on Sunday, the second day of Milan Fashion Week, was encapsulated in an intricate sand-colored crewneck sweater with pieces of red and milky shell embroidered into decorative panels. A small leather talisman sack, for a good luck charm or precious object, was worn around the neck on strands of beads.

The designer for the family label referenced the colors of the continent: indigo textile dyes from Benin, clay tones from Mali, and dark olive from the rain forests of Ivory Coast.

The classically cut suits, some in bold indigo plaids and others in khaki shades with the hint of desert reds woven in, were more fitting of an adventurer than a businessman, more likely seen in a colonial hotel than a metropolitan meeting room.

The trademark Missoni sweater with zig-zag patterns was ever present, several made from triangular panels stitched together. Cardigans were worn easily over fanciful V-neck tunics.

Footwear included derby shoes and sneakers, with an unusual touch: the laces were wrapped multiple times around the soles. The look was accessorized with long braided belts and beaded totes and flat document holders.

The fashion house is marking its 60th anniversary, but it has been far from a celebratory year. This was the first runway since the family-run company lost its patriarch, Ottavio Missoni, who died last month. And the Missonis still have no certainty on the fate of the Missonis' eldest son, CEO Vittorio Missoni, who disappeared with his wife and four others while flying in a small plane in January during a vacation to a Venezuelan island. They were never found.