By Mackenzie Wagoner
Yes, Veronica Etro is feeling florals for spring. But like anything with the palimpsest brand, the mandala buds and stretching vines coming to life on her bright, glimmering everywhere and from directly within her. The womenswear creative director approaches all of her collections with authenticity, crafting each in the image of a trip, a beloved book or a balmy memory. Yet this season came from a more personal place.
“I have always been quite a positive person,” says the daughter of the Milanese house’s founder, Gerolamo Etro, outlining her embedded practice of meditation and yoga. “But during the pandemic I came closer to mindfulness. I felt a strong bond with the universe and with nature.” Able to drop into her own body, she experienced a heightened sense of her connection with all living things. “That is why for Spring/Summer, everything had to be in bloom.”
The season, with its postponed sunsets, unabashed nature and flickering possibility also called to mind another reawakening: her time as a student at Central Saint Martins in the 1990s. “London was full of energy,” she says, especially if you made your way to the licentious nouveau hippie club, Whirl-Y-Gig. The world music den has survived for 41 years with a come-one-come-all ethos and is “a total bubble of positivity and a melting pot of creativity.” Though the unofficial dress code in Etro’s tenure was a laid-back t-shirt and jeans, once inside, she remembers the all-ages revelers were “bathed in a rainbow of rippling lights.”
Etro’s reimagining of that moment is naturally delivered in a full-spectrum range. There are chromatic crochet tops, floor-length fringed statements and featherweight patchwork cut-out dresses deliciously twisted in chiffon. The ease and functionality of the Whirl-Y-Gig uniform is embodied in brightly patched denim and allover printed leggings paired with sheer shirt dresses in matching colors. But these looks are designed to be taken far out of the club.
Etro imagines them being worn rightfully “anywhere.” The peripatetic designer has topped the most leisurely drawstring pants with free spirited layers including botanically printed cropped tees and glittering chainmail tops. Elsewhere, a beige band collar suit is teamed with a bronze bikini top and flatform sandal for a look that’s ready to transverse dress codes. In true wanderlust fashion, even the strictest silhouette (one knockout single breasted silk suit) is deployed in a promising shade of sunshine.
And then there are the flowers of every iteration, found in chinoiserie prints, swirling mandalas, explosive daisies, tropical fields and sinuous vines that morph into the brand’s trademark paisley. The latest iteration has been titled Liquid Paisley and flows across the surfaces of bucket hats, trousers, outerwear and the new Crown Me Flap bags. The structured leather shoulder bag with a brass metal studded strap comes dipped in a tattoo-inspired, all-over print in cotton candy pink or verdant green, and is made for the person who wears their freedom on their sleeve. Any way you wear it, and anywhere you take it, much like at Whirl-Y-Gig, you’re “free to play and make it your own.”