Etro has always been known for their vibrant colors and exotic pattern play. Inspired by past, present, and future, this season presents a perfect balance of the ethereal classic beauty of Etro with a city-girl edge. We caught up with the designer Veronica Etro during her recent trip to NYC to chat about the Fall collection.
Bergdorf Goodman: Welcome to New York! What is on your must-see, do, and eat list when you visit the city?
- Stores: New York Vintage, Resurrection, Opening Ceremony, ABC Carpet
- Museums: Met, Whitney, MOMA
- Area: Downtown
- Restaurants: Indochine, Mission Chinese or Mr. Chow
BG: You describe your Fall collection as a study in contrasts: functional but freestyle, raw but decorative, informal and formal. How do you find a balance that fits the brand? Can the Etro woman be found in the extremes? Or just the common ground?
VE: The Etro style is eclectic, exotic and colorful; a controlled maximalism. The Etro woman is a globetrotter, a lover of art and culture with an independent spirit. She likes to play with clothes, but she does not take them too seriously. She is not a fashion victim and for her, clothing is a creative expression. I design for a woman who is bold and isn’t afraid of color, or a touch of eclecticism. What I am interested in is to work on the heritage of the brand and to push the boundaries of past, present, and future. Making an evolution and not a revolution! I like to play with contrast and to find the right balance between them.
BG: Anyone familiar with Etro falls for the incredible fabrication. What is the process like to source your textiles? How do they develop to the finish product?
VE: I start every collection with an intensive research period. I spend many days gathering images, swatches of fabric, and taking notes of things that inspire me. Once I have established this stimulating visual playground, then I begin to design the silhouettes of the clothes. Pattern is central to Etro’s past, present and future. I love to discover an original way of looking at print. A fresh way of dealing with it may be that I look back and resuscitate a lost tradition or an ancient technique from the past, or I might look far into the future for cutting-edge, high-tech processes that have never been used before. Then there are the jacquards of course and all the fabrics are made in house. It’s a challenge to come up with something unique each season but taking a brand new voyage with every collection is what makes my job very exciting and satisfying. At the end the collections are a balance mixed of heart, reason, emotion, discipline and instinct.
BG: Art, travel, and a global spirit are reflected in your designs. Are these personal passions? How much do your personal experiences and interests translate into the collection?
VE: The inspiration comes from many different sources and it changes with each collection. It could be a movie, or a trip I’ve taken, an exhibit I’ve seen, a book I’ve read, or a special corner of the Etro archives. I’m interested in creativity in general. I went to Central St Martins College of Art and Design and after London I decided to join the company to develop my idea of fashion. I’m interested in fashion when it is conceived as 360°; linked to art, photography, architecture, interior design, jewelry etc. As the research is quite personal, I believe in things that are fluid “panta-rei”. If in that moment, you believe in something: go for it!
BG: Often times it seems like for the Etro woman, more is more. But if you had to have just one Etro piece this season, what would it be?
VE: The embroidered and printed biker jacket. I like that on your back you have that surprise effect you would not expect and that it is not conceived as just a sport/leisure item but as a special piece to collect.
BG: How do you see your London-inspired, Italian crafted Fall collection being worn by the New York City woman?
VE: I do not see many differences between a downtown girl of NYC and a London based cool girl. What inspires them is art, culture, music, street style, pattern, paisley, uniqueness and easiness.