“The question I asked myself is: How can I deal with the prints in a totally new way? I wanted to go out of my body and see things from a completely different angle,” Veronica Etro explained backstage of her autumn-winter 2022 fashion show. “So I imagined aliens coming across our archive in 200 years and looking at them with micro-lenses that are sort of zooming in and blowing everything up. So it’s like zoomed heritage!” With Etro’s heritage looping back via its family-founded roots in Italy during the hippie late 1960s, to a style of shawl named after a Scottish mill town that made a massive 19th-century British Colonial fashion business out of appropriating a precious fabric whose culture belongs to Kashmir, on the border of India and Pakistan – the paisley pattern is always the given medium. Veronica Etro’s conundrum has been to contemporize and reconfigure all of that, expanding the range of what her brand can be without losing its character. “You know, Etro was a lifestyle brand,” she observed backstage. “I think the strength is that it has a strong identity, but at the same time it leaves women open to interpret and to be individual and to personalize. It’s about how we can embrace different personalities – I never wanted to make it homogeneous, to make uniforms.” This time she traveled through boho, arty-crafty knitwear to ’80s puffy-silhouetted patchwork bomber jackets to end up with suave, ’70s crushed-velvet trouser suits and slinky bias-cut black satin dresses. Some of it looked like an Italian version of Isabel Marant – and this isn’t something bad. The paisley registered in various graphic forms – super enlarged to look like an animal-print lining on a shearling aviator jacket, or deconstructed down to its “harlequin” elements, stamped in repeat on a vibrant pink velvet jacket and a semisheer, diaphanous chiffon dress.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.