Italian Designer Created Race-inspired Fashion that Endures Decades
Massimo Osti (1944–2005), a graphic designer turned garment engineer from Bologna, Italy, changed the fashion industry with his unique dyeing techniques and materials and creative philosophy based on experimentation. He began his work in the fashion industry in the early 1970s, when he designed a T-shirt collection featuring placed prints, when he was one of the first to use the four-color process and silkscreen. After the success of this venture, he completed a men’s collection and in 1975 became a partner in Chester Perry, later renamed C.P. Company. He also created the Stone Island brand, another clothing company.
At heart, Osti was an creator. He invented rubber flax and rubber wool, which are linen and wool with thin rubber coatings. This processing made the materials waterproof while also adding a totally new look and feel to the material. In 1987 Osti also invented the brushed combed wool procedure, now used widely to process woolen textiles. He created many other innovative fabrics and one of his most famous fashion designs was the Ice Jacket, for which he used state-of-the-art technology to create fabric that changed color based on temperature.
In 1989, the year C.P. Company sponsored the reknowned race re-enactment, Osti designed and produced a Mille Miglia-inspired jacket, rucksack, and vest as promotional pieces for race competitors. This successful, original goggle jacket (nicknamed the “Mille Miglia” jacket) showcased C.P. Company’s innovative designs, master tailoring, and quality craftsmanship.
In all of Osti’s experimentations with fabric and dyeing, he amassed a huge collection of clothing, including military uniforms and work attire as well as protective hoods worn by the civil defense forces in Japan, all of which inspired him in the design of his goggle jacket. Osti decided to sew the goggles into the hood of the jacket, paying homage to car racers of decades past as well as giving the driver protection from the elements while still allowing clear vision. A lens was also added to the sleeve so that the driver could track his driving time on his watch without having to lift his sleeve. The original goggle jacket was extremely durable, using a wide variety of fabrics, including anti-rip, leather, dynafil, and a fabric resistant of water, smog, and oil.
Everything about the jacket captured the atmosphere of the Mille Miglia.
Even now, season after season, C.P. Company has continued to design and produce new versions of the goggle jacket. In 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the jacket, C.P. Company collaborated with fashion designer Aitor Throup. The clothing company put on an exhibition of all the versions of the goggle jacket, including the new one designed by Aitor as a tribute to Massimo Osti’s greatness. Aitor created a new construction of the hood and reformed the body of the jacket based on the human form in a driving position, which provided maximum comfort to the racers.
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