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Etro’s New Creative Director Marco de Vincenzo Shares His Vision for the Family-Founded Brand’s Future

Marco de Vincenzo. Photo: Courtesy of Etro

All things paisley and boho have been Etro‘s identity for decades now, but a major overhaul is on the horizon for the 1968-founded Italian brand. Come September 23, its recently-designated creative director Marco de Vincenzo will present his debut collection in Milan, breathing new life into the once family-owned fashion house, and sharing his vision for Etro’s evolution. “The opportunity to lead such an important brand is once in a lifetime,” shares the 44-year-old with Vogue Arabia in his first interview in the Middle East. “I felt like a privileged person, I could not help but accept the challenge, also because of the many affinities I feel I have with its codes. The heritage of the brand has always fascinated me, its connection to textiles and the birth of ‘Made in Italy.””

The Sicily-born designer’s appointment follows the Etro family’s decision to sell a 60% stake to L Catterton in June 2021 and will see him replace Veronica and Kean Etro to oversee the brand’s womenswear, menswear, and accessories. The latter is no strange territory for the European Institute of Design graduate, whose namesake brand founded in 2009 continues to be loved for its statement heels and purses, despite being on a hiatus. “Accessories are part of my history,” says de Vincenzo, who started designing bags when he was just over 18 years of age. “I think my experience can also be useful to a brand mainly known for ready-to-wear,” he states. De Vincenzo’s past also had him acquainted with another family-operated brand on the cusp of change. In the year 2000, when LVHM acquired a stake in Fendi, de Vincenzo joined Fendi as its leather goods head designer, a special position that he will retain. “I started a long collaboration with Fendi exactly when the brand was about to change its skin and leave its ‘family dimension’,” he recalls. “At Etro, it is happening again, it seems it is written in my destiny.”

A preview of Etropía, a visual project void of any clothing, and “the first act of Etro’s new course under the creative direction of Marco De Vincenzo”. Photo: Courtesy of Etro

Under de Vincenzo’s creative direction, expect Etro to rediscover the wealth of fabrics, given his adept and bold use of materials in the past. “The choice of fabric depends on the sensibility of the moment,” he believes. “But above all, they work as a group, only when in harmony with each other, like musicians in an orchestra.” While this has been evident with his previous work and a 2021 collaboration with Marina Rinaldi, an air of mystery remains around the future of Etro’s pattern-heavy fabric. “Codes survive time only if you have the courage to renew them,” he asserts, revealing little of what the renewal would look like. But when asked what customers can expect from his debut, the designer’s answer is refreshingly uncomplicated: “A young and eclectic language.”

De Vincenzo is also well aware that the fashion world—many years deep into the reassessment of its over-production, and sustainability values—demands more from a designer taking up the reigns of a storied brand in the current time. After buying back his eponymous brand from LVMH in 2020, he presented a collection of upcycled vintage pieces during Milan Fashion Week in February 2022, sending a powerful message in his last project as an independent designer to the fashion industry. “I’m certainly not the first one doing upcycling, but I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and it’d be great if each designer would consider it as an integral part of his practice,” he had shared with Vogue at the time. Now, even at the helm of a global luxury fashion house, de Vincenzo aims to stand by this ideology. “I believe that a sustainable attitude can also apply to major brands,” he says. “In fact, perhaps it is the ‘big brands’ that can raise consumer awareness if they have made themselves credible over the years. I firmly believe in downsizing some outdated production rules. I will do my best to continue in this direction.”

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