For the past few seasons, I take peeks at Etro and I must admit that something good is going on there. Comparing to the pretentious dustiness I always had in mind when thinking of the Italian brand, now I’m really intrigued with its fresh, revived care-freeness. And guess what – it’s not about a new creative director, since Veronica Etro designs womenswear since 2000. “I’m a natural-born optimist, I always try to see the glass half full,” said Veronica to Vogue during a Zoom review of Etro’s pre-fall 2021 collection. Italy is still in its second lockdown with no sign that Christmas travels will be possible, but Etro nevertheless sounded positive. “When we finally get out of this – and we will get out of it sooner or later – we’ll be ready to enjoy life to the full again. To travel, to party, to meet with friends, to get our freedom back,” she said. With her hopeful disposition, Etro hasn’t been tempted in the least to propose the elevated version of the stay-at-home loungewear that many designers have turned to for their post-pandemic collections. She believes that fashion should help women to be better versions of themselves, no matter the circumstances. A need for comfort is an inevitable byproduct of our present WFH limitations; it can’t be ignored. However, she said, “Etro has always been about a natural sense of ease, so I didn’t have to change my perspective much. It’s more about celebrating the freedom we’re craving to go back to. I thought about the future, about the clothes we’ll feel good in, and how we’ll enjoy getting dressed.” The collection reads as a free-spirited round-up of the best of the label, individual pieces as imaginative and romantic as they are effortless to wear, spiced up with a dash of Etro’s haute-bohemian flair, and all worn by a community of diverse characters. Paisley-printed garden party dresses alternated with soft tailored pantsuits in plush velvet, while languid tapestry dressing gowns, richly printed kimonos, and jacquard-knitted cozy wool cardis looked versatile enough to sit comfortably in a masculine/feminine wardrobe. “Traveling is always a learning experience and I miss it terribly,” said Etro. So much so that in the look book a model carries an amusing XXXL paisley-printed shopper, big enough to hold the entire collection. A true voyager’s dream!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.