“Good morning, my name is Matteo and I’m an actor. Mr. Kean Etro would like to invite you to the show by asking me to read you a poem. For you, he has chosen one by Alda Merini.”
Several days ago, guests of the Etro show all received a phone call that started along those lines, which enabled the listener to briefly connect with a stranger and distract themselves from whatever daily task they were stressing over. In an industry of fancy invites and impersonal, digital save-the-dates, Etro’s invitation was unique (and sustainable) as it gave guests something that can’t be bought: a memory.
“It was a way to say goodbye with affection,” said the teary-eyed designer ahead of his last show before handing the brand’s creative reins to Marco De Vincenzo. “And it made for a good link not only sentimentally but because I believe that this is the time for poiesis, in its meaning of making, creating. Poets are always seen as useless, while the word itself indicates a person doing something new.”
Etro embraced the same approach with an appealing, nonchalant collection infused with “a new sensuality, a new eroticism that is quite unusual for me,” he said.
Transparencies, breezy volumes and perforated fabrics seduced with lightness in a lineup full of holiday clothing options. See-through airy shirts, short shorts, broderie anglaise pants and a series of crafty crochet tops mingled with linen or crushed satin suits with a relaxed vibe, in a mix of references that also tapped into the brand’s nomadic roots.
Given the occasion, it would have been natural for Etro to look back at his own fashion memories accumulated through more than 30 years at the helm of menswear at the family business, yet there wasn’t a hint of nostalgia in the lineup he presented. He didn’t look back, nor forward — instead, he looked down.
Matching some of his models on the catwalk, the designer ditched shoes and wandered around the backstage barefoot to feel more connected with Earth and “feel the energy coming from below.” On the runway, he elevated the exercise, adding rings and jewelry to models’ feet to evoke a “gemming from below, like in flowers.”
The botanical theme was indeed dominant in the collection, as laid-back tailoring and billowing shirts, kimonos and caftans were all adorned with delicate floral patterns in various shapes and forms.
Before Etro took his final bow — during which he invited his sister Veronica to join him in a touching brotherly moment — he returned to the concept of time. “There’s time for everything, and this is the time to give good advice,” he said nodding to the Etro siblings’ new role at the brand.
“Marco is really fond of the history of the company and he’s going to disrupt it a bit, which I think is what we need and I’m really eager to see. I want to see a change and I want to see him as a leader,” Etro said. Time to write a new chapter.