Italian fashions are usually inspired by their own culture. Whether it’s the rigid, refined, and business-minded region in the north, the ever-inspiring center of Catholicism in the Vatican, or the sensual and erotic vibrancy of the south. The Mediterranean country is rich with themes and motifs that its fashion brands can take inspiration from. It’s why the country has become a leading force in the fashion industry. However, there is one brand that chooses to find inspiration beyond the country. Although their clothes are still distinctly Italian, their themes are often based off of exotic travels. This label is Etro.
Known for their colorful prints, Etro has become a favorite in Italian fashion. They lax, carefree approach to style and glamour has captured the hearts of many consumers. Even when designers in Milan focused on either strict tailoring of sexual overload, Etro has stayed faithful to their bohemian aesthetic. They cater to the cosmopolitan men and women who live a luxurious lifestyle that is carefree. The brand has achieved setting up their own look, which is a feat in of itself for modern fashion. Today, it has become one of the most anticipated shows in Milan fashion week and is constantly talked about by the likes of Vogue and Elle.
The Italian fashion house was founded in 1968 by Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro. It was first set up as a textile design factory, designing various prints on luxurious fabrics. During this time, the paisley print became the house’s signature pattern. In 1981, the company started offering furnishing textiles, gearing the brand into a more lifestyle label. Soon, their colorful prints and soft textiles became a hit among the upper class, who wanted to dress their homes in Etro. It echoed both luxurious yet bohemian spirit, all the while reflecting a true Mediterranean style. As the company grew, they also got closer and closer to the fashion industry.
Their first venture into fashion was in 1984 when the launched their leather goods store. Their famous paisley print was suddenly crafted into Jacquard fabrics, appearing in bags, purses, and other leather goods. In 1991, the company launched their ready-to-wear, debuting a womenswear collection. It was soon followed by a menswear collection in the mid 90’s. They eventually made their Milan Fashion Week debut in 1996, showing against strong competitors like Missoni and Moschino. Soon, their fashion shows became one of the most attended in the whole week, and their collections were met with critical acclaim and commercial success.
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As with any other Italian brand, Etro is a family business based in Via Spartaco, Milan. Founded by Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro, his four children eventually took the reins of the company. Jacopo was the first of the Etro children to join the business in 1982. He eventually became the creative director of the houses’ accessories line. The next was Kean Etro, who started out as a digital intern in 1986. In 1990, he designed his first menswear collection for the house, eventually taking up the title as the line’s creative director. In 1991, Ippolito joined the family business, becoming the General Director of the business in the late 2000’s. Finally, Veronica Etro became the creative director of the womenswear line in 2000. She holds that position to this day.
Italian Textile Standout
When it comes to textiles, none have contributed so much to Italian fashion quite like Etro. Their library of archives is said to provide countless inspirations, from the colorful prints to the innovative fabrics. Their devotion to textiles lead to Jacopo Etro, head of the brand’s textile division, sitting on the board of the Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana as the representative for the Italian textile industry. They also popularized the paisley print, which came to be during the same time of the founding of the fashion house. Their massive use of the famous print has come to a point that both are synonymous with each other, and that you can’t think one without the other.
In 1981, the company released their first furnishing textiles line. It was followed by a leather goods lie in 1984, and a home line in 1985. These ventures made it possible for the brand to enter the fashion industry, eventually becoming a ready-to-wear brand in the 1990’s. Apart from these lines, they’ve also released toiletries, eyewear, jewelry, and home furnishings. They eventually opened a stand-alone store for their home furnishings line in 2014. They’ve also launched a footwear line and, similarly to their ready-to-wear, are often inspired by the bohemian lifestyle.
Italian fashion is as identifiable as they come, and Etro’s is no exception. However, with inspirations from their travels, the house has conjured up an identity that is uniquely theirs yet universal at the same time. Today, Etro has become one of the biggest Italian luxury brands in the fashion industry, and it all started with a paisley print back in 1968.
Best Places to Shop for Etro Online