MFW: ETRO S/S 2014

I had to smile. As the last few models made their exit from the Etro runway, creative director Veronica Etro emerged from between them to take a well-deserved bow. The tall, thin models were like columns along side Ms. Etro’s petite frame, but her smile made up for anything she might be lacking in height. She knew she had just shown a very beautiful line of clothing.

In a world where conglomerates seem to gobble up small labels the moment they even whisper at any profitability, Etro is the exception, still a family run business from top to bottom. Ms. Etro’s brothers handle the business side of things, leaving her free to create and put her very active imagination to work.

Judging by what came down today’s runway, I would say that someone’s imagination has been working overtime. Prints were the name of the game. Not a single solid-colored ensemble exists in this collection. Prints range from large paisley to micro florals and all over the place in between. Ms. Etro’s favorite combination seemed to be placing a large print on top with a micro print on bottom in contrasting color, an aesthetic destined to grab the attention of a world that is incurably ADD.

Fabrics are critical to this collection. Veronica starts with silk, but moves on to cotton knits, rayon, and even a few touches of gold lame. Silhouettes are all over the place, as varied as the number of prints, but none are excessively tailored nor overly full. These are clothes designed to fit and make the wearer look good. There are a few plunging necklines and a handful of halters producing backless views, but most are office appropriate and none would likely be considered too racy or daring, even in the  most conservative parts of the Midwest.

Scarves again make a dominant appearance, this time draped and fringed over a number of ensembles. Bead work could be found on everything from earrings to belts and the tassels of purses. Shoes were strappy, open toe, with three-inch heels.

This is an energetic and exciting collection for Etro, one that certainly positions them to do well against the larger design houses. With stand alone boutiques scattered all over the world, including five in the United States, they are one of the more accessible Italian labels. One would do well to consider adding something from this exciting line to their wardrobe.

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