Veronica Etro titled her collection Lady Paisley. “There is something about the paisley which at heart is very aristocratic,” she said in a preview. She made her point with a lineup that did indeed deliver a tony vibe, and at its best, plenty of strong clothes.
A traditional autumnal palette set the tone of genteel, countrified authority, at least by day, dominated by beautiful outerwear and knits. Jackets and coats were belted and at times topped with precision-cut astrakhan capelets; an elegant camel topper was faced in black. Throughout, the designer added interesting flourishes such as leather peplum belts under short jackets. She delivered these with a subtle men’s-inspired swagger, kept sexy when played against body-conscious, sometimes sheer underpinnings.
As for those paisleys, Etro was savvy in her determination to keep them modern. Thus she often showed them in combination with quieter pieces — exploded onto skinny pants under a jacket, or as a “body tattoo” on a sheer T-shirt tucked into trousers. Some hourglass dresses were also lovely, yet the ongoing task of fusing loyalty with modernity remains a challenge, and some efforts to de- and reconstruct the paisleys felt labored. Not so, however, with the all-black version of a velvet devoré gown. It sizzled.