It’s end of an era at Etro: with a new creative director appointed, the Italian brand is departing from its family roots. Marco De Vincenzo is taking the lead, and will show his first collection in September. Veronica Etro and Kean Etro waved a good-bye with their last collections: women’s resort and men’s spring-summer 2023. These two line-ups were quintessentially Etro, at its best. For menswear, Kean Etro delights in layering multiple references with the ease that comes not only from experience but from true cultural curiosity. His love of literature and poetry are just some of his many interests, and this season, instead of invitations, he had actors phone each of the show’s hundreds of guests to recite a dedicated poem to each one. It was a gesture of exquisite sensitivity. “Poetry and utopia go hand in hand,” he said backstage before the show. “In its etymology, poetry simply means making, composing. I wanted to give value to the idea of creating, which shouldn’t be separated from utopia.” Quoting Oscar Wilde, he added “there’s no progress in society without utopia.” Following circadian rhythms, looks were presented in circular chromatic cadence, from morning whites through sun-at-the-zenith brights to velvety darks dotted with starry figments. Archetypal in shape – kimonos, kaftans, djellabas, wrap jackets closed by obis 0 it was elevated by what the designer called “a florilegium,” that is a plethora of sparse floral images delicately overprinted with the number 432 Hertz. “It’s the number indicating the frequency of the universe’s good vibration,” said Kean. “It’s the frequency of beauty. It’s like when you charge crystals or bio-dynamic particles with energy – I’ve used it to somehow energize the garments.” The energy-charging ritual may have worked: there was a lively feeling to the collection that propelled it forward, despite the stifling heatwave which made the air feel unnaturally still. Billowy see-through chiffon kaftans and elongated shirts and kimonos in liquid satin were worn open to reveal nude skin, as well as boxing shorts exposing bare legs. The body was perceived through mesh textures, broderie Anglaise inserts, and impalpable silks and linens. The breezy, cultivated Bohemian feel which is the Etro siblings’ signature looked vital and delicate in equal measure.
Meanwhile, for resort 2023, Veronica focused on the classic summer-version of the brand. The label’s staples – the glamorous caftan, the dressing gown duster, the flowy dress – were given a fresh interpretation. The paisley motif was blown up into a vibrant abstract rendition, printed on a long chiffon dress with butterfly sleeves, or onto a masculine bermuda suit, or again on a tight body-con number with an asymmetrical ruffled hem. Punctuating the collection with an artisanal feel, a series of crocheted pieces including an elongated mesh cardi, a handknit knotted-fringed miniskirt, and a show stopping robe/poncho exuded the haute hippy vibe that is trademark Etro. Its free spirited attitude will surely transition into Etro’s new direction.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.