Etro is an Italian label that was founded in 1968, when Gimmo Etro, the brand’s founder, launched a range of fabrics using noble and natural fibres, which he embellished with original designs and innovative colour ways. It is well known for its unpredictable designs and fresh collections each season. The brand has both women's and menswear designed by family members Kean and Veronica respectively.
When the label first originated it designed a range of cashmere paisley prints. It has since expanded to fragrance, home and clothing lines.
In 1981 the furnishing textiles line made its debut. The Paisley motif used to enrich the first collection was set to become the Etro mark of identity. Leather goods were added to the product range in 1984 with a bag and travel bag collection in Paisley jacquard fabric. In 1986 Etro launched the home accessories and complements collection, thus consolidating the brand’s lifestyle concept. The 1990s saw the unveiling of the first men’s and women’s prêt-à-porter collections, their inventive and recherché style earning the label instant recognition. The materials, the workings and a special talent with prints are what make Etro unique and inimitable.
The Etro family began using textiles and fashion as a mode of art rather than a mode of expression. Etro is identified primarily with Gimmo (born Gerolamo), the founder, but today the company is managed by his four children: Jacopo manages textiles, leather goods and the home collections, Kean is responsible the menswear collections . Ippolito is the CEO and Veronica is responsible for the women’s collections.
The Paisley pattern is a constant point of inspiration for Etro. The pattern is an ancient decorative feature originally from Mesopotamia where it symbolized the shoot of the date palm which represented the tree of life. The pattern was much used on precious hand-woven Indian fabrics until it later was adopted for the use on shawls of nineteenth-century women. Etro has a collection of one hundred and fifty cashmere design shawls dating from 1810 to 1880. The collection lead to the inspiration of the Paisley pattern, commonly used in the Etro collections from 1984 to present day.
Etro continues technological exploration and experimentation with the pattern; the cashmere design is illuminated with pop hues, fossilised in lunar prints, pulverised in embroidery with crystal fragments, sectioned into small samples and plastified in glass-bags. Each season the pattern continues to be used in the Etro designs.