Etro PRE-FALL 2021

“I’m a natural-born optimist, I always try to see the glass half full,” said Veronica Etro from the other side of the screen during a Zoom review of Etro’s pre-fall collection. Italy is still in its second lockdown with no sign that Christmas travels will be possible—not exactly an uplifting situation—but Etro nevertheless sounded positive.

“When we finally get out of this—and we will get out of it sooner or later—we’ll be ready to enjoy life to the full again. To travel, to party, to meet with friends, to get our freedom back,” she said.

With her hopeful disposition, Etro hasn’t been tempted in the least to propose the elevated version of the stay-at-home loungewear that many designers have turned to for their post-pandemic collections.

She believes that fashion should help women to be better versions of themselves, no matter the circumstances. A need for comfort is an inevitable byproduct of our present WFH limitations; it can’t be ignored.

However, she said, “Etro has always been about a natural sense of ease, so I didn’t have to change my perspective much. It’s more about celebrating the freedom we’re craving to go back to. I thought about the future, about the clothes we’ll feel good in, and how we’ll enjoy getting dressed.”

The collection reads as a free-spirited round-up of the best of the label, individual pieces as imaginative and romantic as they are effortless to wear, spiced up with a dash of Etro’s haute-bohemian flair, and all worn by a community of diverse characters.

Paisley-printed garden party dresses alternated with soft tailored pantsuits in plush velvet, while languid tapestry dressing gowns, richly printed kimonos, and jacquard-knitted cozy wool cardis looked versatile enough to sit comfortably in a masculine/feminine wardrobe.

The free-style ’70s vibe of her references connects with today’s lust for unconventional self-expression. “It was a time with the same strong desire of breaking barriers, conventions, and rules we’re experiencing today, so I found it a telling reference,” said Etro.

Jimi Hendrix’s glamorous psychedelia was obviously the inspiration for a series of hippie-ish pieces. Shearling embroidered waistcoats were paired with floral-printed frilly minidresses or worn over animalier bell-bottom denims, while unisex wool ponchos, geometric intarsia-ed capes, and roomy patchworked blanket coats nodded to the passion for travel ingrained in Etro’s narrative.

“Traveling is always a learning experience and I miss it terribly,” said Etro. So much so that in the look book a model carries an amusing XXXL paisley-printed shopper, big enough to hold the entire collection. It seems unlikely though that it’ll be allowed as a carry-on item when Veronica Etro is finally able to get back in the air again.