MOVING UP: In a mini-move with maximum impact, Etro traded its 12-year-old back-corner digs in Berlin’s tony Quartier 206 for a new two-floor, approximately 4,850-square-foot space directly accessing Friedrichstrasse in the same complex.
Reflecting the brand’s most recent in-store design, women’s wear and accessories on the ground floor are showcased in streamlined iron structures set against lacquered gray walls and natural stone flooring, plus a vivid color flash or two. Plaster casts and a marble replica of Torso Gaddi add that typically artistic Etro touch, as do Massimo Listri’s striking architectural photographs leading the way upstairs or the vintage black-and-white Chinese photographs that accent the walls of the men’s department. However, humor is also part of the brand’s DNA, as evidenced in the foodie-fashion spring still life: a tasty meal comprised of spring’s spaghetti-print silk foulard or capelletti pocket square, complete with the proper implements – Etro fork and knife knit ties.
Kean Etro had just eaten — a Michelin-star lunch at Pauli Saal in the former Jewish Girl’s School on Auguststrasse – followed by a few impromptu gallery visits in the same building. He was basking in having a little time off “from not running a company, which in these days is not so easy,” he said, prior to the shop opening Thursday. “We entered a lot of little nests, and everyone was so open, warm and kind — it really made the day.”
It’s that kind of spirit — of sharing, of service in the word’s older sense of being useful and even of happiness — that Etro finds pivotal, both on a private and professional level. “The new [Berlin] store is bigger, yes, but nowadays we should be measuring less in quantity than in quality and service,” he commented.
And while other new Etro stores are in the works, he suggested it might be wiser “these days, to open less, but in a more concrete and sound way. If you’re talking about China, perhaps it’s better to see if we can restore or fix something historical rather than going into malls. For then you won’t have to change the fixtures every four years because it will be part of something more fundamental and real.
“We all know, since 2008, that the crisis is not over,” he went on. “It’s time for new ideals, or maybe to go back to the beginning and the Greek philosophers, who talked about the pursuit of happiness, not money. If we manage with what we do to get people in that state of happiness, of sharing, that’s a lot.
“For what’s modern?” he asked. “Making a lot of money or being happy?”