A wise man once said: “Sometimes what we find by chance makes us happier than what we are looking for“. This phrase takes on a special meaning if we relate it to the Spring/Summer 24 collection of the Italian fashion house ETRO, designed by its current creative director Marco de Vincenzo, who found part of his inspiration by accident when he came across a book of anonymous allegories in a bookshop in the Italian city of Messina, located to the northeast of Sicily and where the designer is originally from.

The result of this serendipity was compared with the current state of the industry and presented on the catwalks of Milan Fashion Week to be thoroughly analysed, just as Mr. De Vincenzo examined the copy in question, which was Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia: a 17th-century repertory full of allegorical images representing virtues, qualities, and vices. The encounter between the two triggered a detour between esoteric arcana and amusing depictions full of hidden meanings, ultimately connecting the past with the present.

Surprisingly, allegories were suddenly likened to memes, GIFs, and TikTok. And although at first glance it may seem contradictory, the moment one stops to learn more about both, one finds the common ground between them, which is the non-verbal transmission of information.

Etro’s new collection is born of this intuitive and deliberately unscientific thinking and is imbued with a casualness and sacredness, condensed into fluid shapes that barely touch the body and rhythmic patterns that turn in on themselves. They are represented through generous blazers, Bermuda shorts, overalls, furry jumpers, football shirts that intermingle with long cardigans, and thick blankets that end up becoming coats. All of them burst decisively onto the black catwalk with a soundtrack that made you want to get up from your seat and wave your arms, and a powerful yellow sunset reigned, which, when the light fell on some of the garments, you could better appreciate the allegorical images of Augurio Buono, Eternintà or Lussuria; the shiny touches; the prints; or the jacquard.

In some of the accessories, such as the bags, the sunset of the set we were talking about was also present, which successfully joined the mythical paisley print of ETRO, thus creating the mix-and-match effect that many want but that few manage to achieve. Something that was also managed was to reimagine, without the result being boring, the “wallabees” shoes, which were very popular and filled with colours such as turquoise blue or green; or the square-toed doll shoes that some of the attendees wore.

Going back to allegory, and ultimately, this is symbolism, but at the same time, it is a figurative treatment of one theme under the guise of another, which is what fashion is all about, day by day: making it grow.

Check out the ETRO Spring/Summer 24 collection designed by Marco de Vincenzo below: