A quick scan of my prior posts and pics and it’s no great surprise that I love pattern. In fact, I had to scroll back through old entries to see if I’d already used this title for a post and sure enough, I did. Thus the added addition of “a deux.”
But while the title may be recycled, the look need not be with the endless opportunities to mix and match prints and patterns. One of my top five favorite designers has made that method their hallmark, which in fact is why they landed in my top 5 list. Etro….a mashup of 1970s bohemian flair with the regal richness of exotic Eastern influence cut in classic shapes and silhouettes. It practically defines me. Color, layer, texture, luxe, nature, maximalist…. These words could describe my living room, or the Etro aesthetic. But I didn’t grow up loving it – or even knowing what it was. It is, as I’ve described having a son, “everything I never knew I always wanted.” A decadent and beautiful surprise.
My first Etro find – my “gateway” Etro was this exquisite vintage beaded kaftan I purchased literally the first week Moss Designer Consignment opened its doors. I wasn’t looking for it but it found me. Anyone who knows me knows I love a statement piece, and this gorgeous creation says it all. Sheer, kimono style with silk applique and beads… it was perfect for a trip I had planned later that year to Turkey. I wore it with a black slip dress under it and gold gladiator flats to navigate the cobblestone streets to dinner one night in Istanbul, and I felt every bit SJP in Abu Dabi a la SATC 2. Later I paired it with black silk leggings and cami for Ballet Austin’s Fete; and still again with boy shorts and a fancy black bra for an at-home dinner party I hosted. Here, I’m letting the kaftan be the star with simple nude slip under it and nude/gold pumps from JCrew. It’s quite literally the one thing I’d grab if my house was on fire – after my son and my cat, of course.
There’s something about Etro that makes you feel emboldened. The pattern play and luxe fabrics; the global influences and vivid colors. Italian designers are synonymous with bold, but Etro does it in a completely unique way. As Luxury Closet describes, “credit goes to founder Gerolamo Etro, a seasoned traveler who laid the foundation…” If you’re not familiar, check out their post, “4 Reasons Why We Love Etro.” I second all four of them. Whether you don a statement jacket over monochrome top and pants; or fully embrace the Etro aesthetic with mismatched paiselys and watercolor prints, you can’t go wrong with at least one piece in your closet. I’ve been lucky enough to score my collection piece by piece second-hand, whether at the aforementioned Moss, or online at Luxury Garage Sale or The Real Real. I think my full love affair was cemented at a Neiman Marcus fall trend event fashion show with Ken Downing several years ago that showcased maximalist to the max. I still have photos on my phone from that show that I look to for inspiration.
While some of these looks are solid Etro, others are Etro-inspired or Etro mixed with others. The key to the pattern mixing is finding a thread on the roadmap and tracing it from piece to piece. Take the rusty-orange print dress with the paisley duster over it. The dress is ETCetera and the duster is thrifted Jean-Paul Gaultier. The paisley pants look – Etro pants from Rags with a JCrew blouse and fur vest from Moss. The green paisley dress and printed coat – both Etro from Moss. The common theme here is the purple.
When you’re feeling all of the drab that Janu-Feb has to offer, mix it up in your closet and walk out as your own rainbow with some of these inspired looks.
Images by Breezy Ritter