Men’s – Tactile Legacy. Etro AW23

Marco De Vincenzo‘s first menswear collection for Etro is definitely much better than his womenswear debut that we’ve seen last September. The brand’s massive textile warehouse in Como was transported and installed in its entirety into a vast industrial space to become the immersive show’s set, with samples hanging from wooden racks and rolls of vintage fabrics scattered around. It was the homage De Vincenzo wanted to pay to the house’s patrimony of textile culture, which is the groundwork on which he’s building his interpretation of the label’s codes. Connecting with Etro’s history is pivotal for De Vincenzo, and his way of dealing with its legacy is respectful; yet he isn’t intimidated by its scale. At a preview, he said that he wanted to throw a little of his own past into the picture. Cue a little fetish, a small wool blanket from his childhood “which I brought with me, a lucky charm of sorts that gave me not only the inspiration for graphics and colors, but also the sentimental impulse to put my story alongside that of the Etro family.” In his menswear outing for the house, what De Vincenzo was keen to express was a sense of coziness and eccentricity. “Comfort of lines but eccentricity in the image” is how he summarized his take on the collection. The idea of masculinity he suggested came with an aura of artsy domesticity, and the look was balanced between a flair for romantic extravagance and supple refinement. Malleable high-end fabrics were cut into soft, gentle shapes: kimonos, shirt coats, and duffels were fluid, unstructured, and unlined, with rounded shoulders, often nonchalantly belted and wrapped as robes de chambre; fuzzy teddy bear pajamas embroidered with florals had an ironic childlike charm. Knitwear was outstanding, with big, chunky sweaters handknitted in imaginative kinetic patterns rendered in an acidic-rainbow palette. On the playful side, tight-fitting jumpers crocheted in open-weave cashmere were appliquéd with 3D bunches of mulberries or kumquats, and worn with roomy high-waisted flares in bright-colored windowpane checks or with low-slung washed denims. At the opposite end of the spectrum, said De Vincenzo, “I wanted tailoring to look sexy.” Inflected with a ‘70s groove, pantsuits were cut in eye-popping tartans, with double-breasted fitted blazers worn over fluid roomy flares, or with long pleated kilts open at the front.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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