MILAN — The red apples harnessed in gold chains and dangling from some models’ hands at Marco De Vincenzo’s debut show for Etro last September are to land on billboards and the streets of international cities.
The fruit — and its fancy accessory that drew attention at the show — appears as a recurring element in Etro’s spring 2023 advertising campaign and is set to play an even bigger role in a series of activations the brand plans.
Titled “Eden of Etropìa,” the campaign that Etro will release Monday recreates a dreamy scenario at the intersection of fantasy and reality and evokes paintings and portraits of the Pre-Raphaelites, which De Vincenzo told WWD have inspired the campaign.
“The apple takes center stage as a symbol of love, seduction and immortality. A bite of it represents the parting of mankind from nature and the origin of the artificial world,” said the designer.
Hence the traditional bucolic representation of Eden is switched in favor of giant stairs and walls creating a surreal labyrinth, where Iman Kaumann, Akon Changkou and Livia H are envisioned like “tightrope walkers, nymphs, sorceresses and princesses,” said De Vincenzo.
Shot in London by Malaysian photographer Zhong Lin, the models wear key looks from the collection styled by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson. They range from crop tops and denim separates to the roomy silhouettes of a black gown — all enriched with prints and embroideries of floral motifs, fruits and birds.
While being the first developed under De Vincenzo, the campaign was conceived as the third act of his “Etropìa” visual journey, said the company. The first chapter was “Manifesto,” a series of portraits the fashion house released ahead of its spring 2023 show to express the quest for freedom and individuality through color that the new creative director was committed to pursuing at the brand. The second was the initial women’s show itself, which was dubbed “Master of Textiles.”
Quickly following the release of the campaign, the fourth chapter of De Vincenzo’s vision will be “Wonderland of Etropìa,” which will a global push of activations, including retail and wholesale pop-ups that will land in 10 capitals around the world starting Wednesday.
As well as appearing across digital platforms, social media and billboards, Etro will implement the campaign in a dedicated mural in Milan and will roll out maxi outdoor installations of scaled-up apples in cities including London, Paris and New York.
From this week until July, giant apples will also feature in a series of pop-ups and pop-ins to appear in selected Etro boutiques worldwide and international department stores.
The fruit’s global takeover will kick off in Japan’s Isetan and across Europe, the U.S., South Korea and China.
The opening of the Isetan pop-up store will also land in the metaverse with a virtual replica of the department store and the Shinjuku district developed in partnership with the Rev Worlds app. Exclusively for the Japanese audience, the “Wonderland of Etropìa” pop-up space will be recreated in 3D for an immersive gamification experience.
Meanwhile, pop-ups will also appear in Milan, New York and Paris, followed by Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Beijing, Chengdu, Yokohama and Singapore, among others. Retailers involved in the project will include Rinascente, Le Bon Marché and Selfridges, as well as Breuninger in Germany, LuisaWorld in Greece and Aïshti in Lebanon, to name a few.
Further marking the “Etropía” project, selected locations will carry a limited-edition series of the upcycled Love Trotter tote bag, an initiative De Vincenzo kick-started under a see-now-buy-now formula at the end of his first show. Different versions of the bag will be exclusive to each market, but all styles feature the bold motifs and patterns of the deadstock fabrics hailing from Etro’s rich textile archives, handles in recycled plastic and embroidery of the brand’s Pegasus logo.