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The story of a myth

To celebrate the fashion house’s 50th anniversary an exhibition showcases the history of Etro from 1968 to 2018, its inspiration, suggestions and unexplored worlds.

The style revolution was made by Gimmo Etro in 1968, who founded the textile company that bears his name and turned a small symbol – paisley – into an icon that was destined to become a sign of style and culture, as the cashmere motif boasts ancient roots in Mesopotamia and symbolizes the tree of life. At the same time, other revolutions were gaining momentum, with the student revolt in France making headlines. The world of cinema was shaken by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, while, in the art world, Andy Warhol concocted the famous Campbell soup, an ironic piece to denounce capitalism. In the 70s Etro proposed fabrics with a variety of prints, some looking like futuristic brushstrokes, others drawing from ethnic tradition, with Mexican inspired shapes and colours, others still rigid and geometric, in black and white zig zags. The paisley changed, becoming a decorative element. Meanwhile, the Grease phenomenon became a cult – teenagers and young adults were singing along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and were inspired by their looks.

In the 80s the line of furnishing accessories was born with duvets, quilts, lamps, cache pots and frames covered with precious materials and dress details, while the song We Are The Worldresounded in every corner, engraved by the United Support group of Artists for Africa. Live Aid, the massive concert organized to alleviate famine in Ethiopia, also went down in history. The 90s brought on catwalks, with shaman Heather Campbell called to close the parade, symbolizing how clothes can be the outward expression of an inner world. The old mindset crumbled, with TV series Sex and the City showing that there are no longer only black and white character traits, but many nuances in between. In recent years, the collection has interpreted folk culture by blending the cultures of Central Asian countries in a journey through tweed patchwork, leather stitching and precious inserts.

While the men’s summer line at Etro is entirely blue, enhancing the horizon and its dividing line between sea and sky, the women’s collection is dedicated to urban tribes.