MILAN, JANUARY 18, 2016
by LUKE LEITCH
This is Etro, so the show’s title, “State of Nature,” plus a runway background projection of forest floor, augured a russet autumn storm of foliage patterns. But no: Milan’s most consistently kaleidoscopic house today presented a wardrobe so relatively muted that it seemed practically Puritan in its restraint. Especially as it came straight after Gucci.
The themes were rusticity and spiritual affinity. An opening movie soundtracked by a husky reading of Walt Whitman’s cosmically paternal “Song of Myself” showed models unconvincingly chopping wood, smoking a pipe, and otherwise communing. Like the 24-hour cycle of a day, the collection opened and closed with darkness. The opener was a high-hemmed jacket and wide straight pants in rugged, almost-black blue cotton above a black knit accented by another knit—this one raspberry—both hemmed with irregular castellations of moth eaten-ness. At collection’s end, a cluster of black looks were elevated both in fabrication and decoration—they included an all-black Hendrix-flavored hussar’s jacket—but they were still black.
The day between these nights saw brighter moments—trousers in yellow or blue suede, some impressive woolen jacquard jackets in animal print that had a half-convincing protein fuzz—but within the meteorological system of Etro, it was wintry. These were elevated countryman’s clothes. Cheviot wools and brown-spectrum checks came patched with suede for the appearance of functionality. There were six overalls, some suede and some tweed. The shoes were brogues with panels of velvet or suede for upper interest welted to marginally elevated crepe soles. One check suit was overprinted with the shadow pattern of leaves, and Kean Etro’s 15-year-old son Gerolamo made his catwalk debut in a shrunken wool tailcoat. There was some paisley—there had to be—but this was as softly spoken as Etro gets. Why so quiet, Kean? “It’s just a feeling. Everything is more subdued. So you can listen to the wind and the whispers in nature.”