#SuzyMFW: Etro Taking The Past Into The Future

The building was old and graceful – in fact a historic Milanese music school. And outside, on the bumpy, worn cobbles, were piles of historic luggage fit for a voyage by steamship or perhaps on the Orient Express.

The change of venue after two decades and the switch in character that came with it were the work of Veronica Etro, creative director of the family business.

Last season’s 50th anniversary had stirred the family feelings about past and future. And the first move was about place.

“During the 50th celebratory exhibition, I had the idea of starting from the origins of Etro,” explained Veronica. “There was no time and I wanted to do a more versatile casting. I saw so much and at the end I chose the roots, the branches, the DNA and I thought I’d start from there and give it an irreverent, anarchic twist – even some things from my London fashion school days.”

“The result, under the cloisters of the Conservatorio di Musica ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ di Milano, was a show with models who had age and character including Tatjana Patitz, Edie Campbell, Alek Wek, Farida Khelfa and so many more who wore with grace the new collection for Autumn/Winter 2019.

What the designer defined as ‘aristo-indie’ meant pieces of luxurious material paired with something more humble; or clothes on a grand scale mixed with corsetry.

Paisley patterns are key to the foundation of Etro and they never looked better than at the openings of the show, when the models walked around the cloisters and the different shades, from ginger to mustard, were the backdrop on which patterns were painted.

Veronica’s secret was to ignore any idea of back-to-the-1970s when paisley was part of the hippie movement. This time round, cut and silhouette were the story as when a shapely paisley jacket strayed beyond the body line over skinny trousers.

There were skirts with dangling lace hems – but the adornment was always in moderation, for the sophistication of the designer makes for elegance, rather than chaos. Yet disruption was all part of the game. A curvy velvet jacket holding together a cluster of lacy frills, worn over a plain white shirt, was a fine example of history re-made.

“I wanted to restart from there because I thought I could revamp the look,” Veronica said. “I call them aristo-indies: independents because they twist the heritage. They are very noble, very sophisticated with lots of tapestry and richness, and the fresh lace.”

So much in fashion today is about the mix – and so few fashion houses can do it as well as Etro.