One of the debuts marking this Milan Fashion Week, Marco De Vincenzo’s takeover of the creative helm of Etro came with a lot of anticipation.
More than a blast, his seminal effort felt like a dart.
Instinctive and immediate, the collection opened a new chapter at the storied house that definitely pointed to a younger generation, with all its cropped tops, short hemlines and overall simplified silhouettes. What the effort probably lost in romance, it gained in a straightforwardness and easy readability that will come in handy in attracting a new audience to the brand.
Usually, the standard roadmap for a new creative director would have implied a deep dive into the archives with a pinch of retooling the house’s signature codes. De Vincenzo approached the former and distanced himself from the latter — part for timing reasons, part for belief.
“I didn’t have enough time to truly know this world, to study and analyze it in depth, so I imagined what it could have represented for me, trying to free it from the past, but never denying it,” the designer said backstage before the show.
The first consequence of this approach? Little to no paisley in sight. “I believe Etro stands for much more than that,” said De Vincenzo, citing the textile richness and expertise he found in his first visit to the company’s archives this past summer.
Denim brocades picturing flowers, birds and exotic fruits made a strong impact when cut in essential shapes, such as a bra, a minidress, a long skirt and a cape. An intricate, beaded version of the pattern was eye-catching too.
As the lineup progressed, colors kicked in and De Vincenzo’s own aesthetic surfaced. Hand-dyed cashmere separates in faded color stripes evoked the rainbow patterns that made the designer’s own work and namesake brand recognizable.
Other graphic elements included striped cotton shirts in popping colors and a reinterpretation of the boho fringes on duchesse satin minidresses, which De Vincenzo said required a lot of work, but eventually felt out of place in the lineup.
A master in accessories — he still retains his role in the Fendi accessories design department — De Vincenzo also worked on “Love Trotter,” a tote bag made from upcycled vintage fabrics that launched in a limited edition right away thanks to a partnership with Mytheresa.
Overall, De Vincenzo was smart to reposition a brand that usually played in its own style league to instead address current trends, checking off his list the likes of denim, transparencies, dressier cargo pants and crochet touches. It was an interesting first step which left one wondering how the second — for menswear — will be.