Marco De Vincenzo went for a clean break with the past in his first outing as Etro’s creative director: “For me this season was about expressing Etro’s potential, showing that there’s a wider range of possibilities that haven’t been explored yet,” he said before the show, held in a vast industrial space whose floor was painted in a colorful abstract pattern.
De Vincenzo was appointed at the end of May; he had just one month to design spring in order to have it produced and ready on time—a nerve-racking prospect even for the most seasoned designer. Yet he took it in his stride: moments before the show, he looked preternaturally serene.
“I relied on my imagination rather than study, as I didn’t have the luxury of deep diving into the wonderful Etro archives,” he said. “It’s a collection I’ve made within myself, believing in my intuition and trusting my perception.”
His subversion was played out with gentle determination. Etro’s most recognizable repertoire—the paisley pattern, the fringed gypsy look, the romantic sweeping gowns—was nowhere to be seen. “I don’t really like fluid fabrications, I like structure and compact materials,” De Vincenzo explained. “I’m not really familiar with the boho world; it doesn’t mean that in the future I cannot interpret it my way, but for now I’ve been given this position to express my point of view. That’s why I’m here.”
What De Vincenzo went for was a sort of radical romanticism, bold visuals and a quirky gesture of discontinuity. He wanted to “celebrate Etro’s unique textile richness,” and played with new jacquard textures and a variety of new decorative motifs, whimsical and eccentric. He kept shapes simple “to be quickly read and easily understood, as young people today like to dress mix-and-matching pieces, so you have to leave space for imaginative interpretations.” To that end he offered shorts, masculine shirts, miniskirts, denim cargos, brassières in luxurious fabrications and sumptuous jacquards. All was exquisitely crafted. Embroideries, intarsia and appliqués had a bold, at times theatrical, appeal.
“I know that my sense of beauty is peculiar, my aesthetic has a sort of abstract, quirky quality, yet here I wanted to offer richness and variety, but also a respect for reality,” De Vincenzo concluded. Fashion needs gutsy visionaries more than ever, as well as engaging points of view expressed with conviction and imagination; a reality where a sense of wonder has no space is just shallow and meaningless. De Vincenzo seems to know that well.