It wasn’t until my brothers and I entered the company in the 1990s that we began to make finished clothing. But no matter how far we extend our product offering—from furniture and fashion to fragrance – the root of the company is always finely crafted fabrics made in Italy from the noblest fibres possible. We’re extremely dedicated to quality, craftsmanship and impeccable detailing.
We aren’t interested in creating trendy fashion collections, only timeless clothes. We want to be experiential but grounded; modern, but timeless. It’s a finely tuned balance but it’s what makes our company unique.
Once the theme starts to emerge, I dive more deeply into the research and this begins to inform the development of the materials. I love colourful landscapes and the scents of a new place and unexpected countries.
I also travel in my head with books, exhibitions and photographs. Even in my dreams, I’ve visited many fantasy-laden places, sometimes Ancient worlds or thrilling situations that have found their way into a fashion show.
We work very closely together and we rely on one another to share ideas and discuss our vision. We are also able to make very quick decisions without getting bogged down in bureaucracy.
For her, clothing is a creative expression. There’s a sense of freedom when she gets dressed. She follows her whims and enjoys the fantasy, and exoticism that fashion can bring. I design for a woman who is bold and isn’t afraid of colour, or a touch of eclecticism
Then I work by subtraction, gradually cleaning out the notebook and throwing away most of the notes until it is time to muster up the courage to close the circle. What is left forms the heart of the collection.
So, today my idea of fashion it’s not related only with the shape, cut or style of a dress but it’s something more, it’s a wide and open vision, rich of contamination and inspiration, 360°. I still work today with that open-minded head at the beginning of my research.
I love to discover an original way of looking at print, a fresh way of dealing with it. It may be that I look back and resuscitate a lost tradition or an ancient technique from the past, or I might look far to the future for cutting-edge, high-tech processes that has never been used before. In any case, the process is heavy with research.
My father began using the pattern in the 1980s and it quickly become the symbol of the Etro brand. Its journey, over the course of thousands of years, is very inspirational to me. I love symbols that are rich in history.
Sometimes I look at it through a very classic lens and sometimes I like to completely revolutionise it. Either way, the design remains very powerful.
Inspiration came from a collection of found objects, from vintage books covered in patterned fabric remnants to the exotic blooms of Indo-China and precious metalwork from the Ottoman Empire, after which the ideas were subtracted and refined until the final collection was born.
The idea was that the new print was constructed around a small scale splintered patchwork pattern instead of a single giant print from head to toe.
The signature Paisley is preserved in its classic guise this season. Hand sewn into complex collages with tie fabrics patterns, exotic floral and the season’s new figurative drawing: the ‘new’ print has been formed from a splintered, patchwork pattern. A play on scale occurs with single giant dahlia that diffuses into an explosion of smaller blooms.
Etro recently held a gala event at the CAFA in Beijing. That being said, does that mean Asia, especially China, will be a priority market for Etro compared to other regions such as the Americas and Europe?
China is the fastest growing market in the contemporary art and luxury worlds; you can feel the energy, the positive atmosphere of rising China. I love the balance between tradition, past memory, heritage and the completely new contemporary reality.
I really like the Chinese films and directors like Yimou Zhang, the traditional costumes, the red lacquered art craft and the amazing decoration and colours of the Forbidden City.
Last but not least, the readers are eager to know what will be in store for them come fall/winter 2014 season. Mind to spill some beans on the collection?
The Paisley pattern has been cut with a fresh new exoticism blending into a floral motifs or oversized checks. Pattern is contained in decorative panels reminiscent of antique Asian screens or pearl boxes and the shapes are easy and flowing.
Etro’s spring/summer 2014 collection is available in Etro stores and selected multi-brand stores and department stores worldwide now.