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An Italian label best known for its swirling paisley patterned designs and ethnic-inspired motifs

Review of Etro

Brand's DNA. Etro is distinguished by classic silhouettes cleverly matched with exotic motifs, a rich variety of patterns, and embroidery. It's been reported that the brand's collections make use of as many as 400 shades and over 90 patterns. The collections feature a multitude of dresses and skirts with floral prints, oriental pattern blouses, and colourful printed T-shirts. With every new season, paisley patterned designs have been reinvented by Etro: boldly coloured, dissected, embroidered, or relocated in an unexpected way. The brand's never-ceasing experiments of this kind notwithstanding, the pieces by Etro do look outdated with the most daring of them reminiscent of a provincial flea market panoramic view shot by Andreas Gursky. Apart from womenswear, menswear, and fragrances, Etro also offers footwear, eyewear, home furnishings, and textiles collections.

Chic. Etro is anything but immediately responsive to trend shifts in fashion: the product range has remained essentially unchanged for over two decades. While browsing through Etro's collections, it's hard to get rid of the idea that the designers behind the label are doing their best to flatter both young girls and their grannies at the same time. Some of the pieces look as if just excavated from your grandmother's closet: rest assured, they look idiosyncratic, but are still hopeless passé.

Pricing. As one would expect from a luxury label. On average, a piece of outerwear costs €1250, dresses are €600, jackets are €1,200, T-shirts are €215, and footwear is €500.

Corporate history highlights. The company was founded in 1968 by Gerolamo "Gimmo" Etro in Milan, Italy, and started out as a textile factory that he modernized after inheriting from his parents. An ardent collector, antiques lover, and traveler, Etro was a passionate about all things textile and nurtured a vision of making the best textile in the world using refined natural fibres like cotton, linen, cashmere, and silk. As time passed, the textile design factory turned made a successful entry into the pret-a-porter world by the 1990s: eclecticism, oriental cultural references, exotic motifs, and lavish colours were a radical departure from the then accepted norm, which sparked fashionista's interest.

The brand became hyped when Etro returned from his journey to India, bringing back not only the wealth of ideas inspired by local cultures, but also a collection of native Indian and Pakistani patterns. One of them was called 'paisley' with its droplet shape resembling the seed of date trees. A clever appropriation of the pattern cemented the brand's reputation, while the swirling paisley design became the house signature. Nowadays, Etro is a family-run enterprise par excellence with all the children of Gimmo Etro involved in top management.

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