It’s been a while since we’ve seen a droopy cardigan sweater tossed over a billowing dress, a memorable combo from John Galliano’s glory days at Christian Dior. The back story went that Vanessa Bellanger, one of his muses and then Dior’s studio director, would keep a favorite chunky knit on hand to keep warm during long fitting sessions in air-conditioned rooms.
In his sophomore women’s effort for Etro, Marco De Vincenzo showed several wispy, printed gowns with equally busy cardigans slipping off one shoulder. There were also colorful, patterned blankets, like the ones left on every seat in the chilly outdoor venue, swirled over model’s torsos like soft-serve ice cream, leaving only the long skirts of their frothy gowns showing.
It was an inspired styling move for a brand like Etro, which lives somewhere in between typical day and eveningwear, with a perfume of exotica.
“For me, the Etro woman is someone who lives in her house, but at the same time, she can go out and sometimes you don’t understand if her outfit is meant to leave the house — because Etro is a lifestyle brand,” mused de Vincenzo, a seasoned talent put in charge of Etro’s women’s, men’s and home collections last year.
While the colors were often muddy and the rhino-horned clogs a bit unwieldy on the uneven stones of the Palazzo del Senato’s ancient cloister, the collection marked an improvement over his debut.
The designer fully embraced the house’s rich textile legacy, reviving one if its earliest renditions of the paisley, mixing it with florals, necktie patterns, checks and the gradient stripes that were a feature of his signature brand.
The fine, youthful and inventive tailoring was a pleasant surprise, and included a glossy black pantsuit embroidered with flowers, and round-shouldered tweed jackets with quirky wooden fox-head buttons in lieu of gold buttons.
By the next morning, editors could be seen jazzing up their outfits by winding their Etro seat blankets around their shoulders — not because it’s particularly cold in Milan, but because De Vincenzo is onto something.