ETRO’S EDEN: In another fashion and art pairing during London’s Frieze art fair, Etro threw a party at its Old Bond Street store Wednesday night to celebrate the European launch of its collection with Japanese artist Mika Ninagawa. The artist — who’s known for her color-saturated photographs depicting everything from blooming flowers through to swimming fish — has created a Technicolor collection for Etro called Eden. At the party, models Jasmine Guinness and Jade Parfitt manned the DJ decks, with Guinness spinning some Fleetwood Mac numbers as guests sipped Champagne topped with edible flowers that echoed Ninagawa’s pictures on the walls.
At a preview of the accessories line at the wood-paneled Bond Street store Wednesday, Jacopo Etro, creative director of Etro’s leather, accessories, home and textile collections, said the label and Ninagawa shared a “use of color,” along with a “love for nature and a love for tradition — but [tradition] changed into something completely different.” Etro, who first met Ninagawa at an Etro event in Tokyo six years ago, said their decision to collaborate came “from the heart.” “It became natural after a while to say, ‘Let’s do something together,’” he said.
The designs — which span scarves, totes, cross-body purses and an envelope-shaped clutch — are all emblazoned with a print that blends Ninagawa’s images with Etro’s signature paisley. Ninagawa related how she’d laid out the paisley and placed butterflies and jewels on the fabric, before photographing it, with that image becoming the print. The collection launched earlier this year in Japan, and Ninagawa admitted she’s excited by seeing people wearing the pieces. “If an artwork can become a product, and the product can be used by different people in daily life, that’s a really good thing [for] an artist,” she said, speaking through a translator. Etro added: “The biggest artists had their designs on different products — from Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst. So I think if you have a great idea and a beautiful art piece that can be translated into something else, that’s not a wrong thing, it’s a way to take art to a different level.”
Etro added that the label plans to work with Ninagawa again, in a project related to the brand’s eye wear collection, set to launch next year. And he promised that the artist would have “complete freedom” to decide how she approaches the commission. “I like…to leave an artist free to express how they feel,” he said. “I don’t want to put restrictions.”