One step backward, two steps forward? It made sense to Veronica Etro. “In this digital era, I’m going backward,” she said before her show, explaining that her starting point for spring was a group of Orientalist paintings she saw at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. Moved by their romanticism, she developed prints from hand-painted originals. Romantic, yes, but flamboyantly so, as fauna — butterflies, flamingoes, birds of paradise — infiltrated the flora, sometimes in exploded proportions.
To temper the surface activity, Etro was determined to keep her shapes clean and simple; a sinewy floral-printed white gown with matching sheer wrap was beautiful. Sometimes she incorporated the Japanese influence in kimono jackets; at others, she cut geometric shapes in fluid fabrics, as in a graphic poncho-like tunic worn over a black skirt. These looked great. Etro’s simplicity instinct went AWOL now and then — a pair of half-bustier/half-tuxedo numbers recalled a long-ago Kim Basinger at the Oscars; it’s not a fond memory. But no matter. For the most part, Etro worked the bold side of elegance with considerable appeal.