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Etro Menswear Fall Winter 2015 Milan

In the program notes for the Etro fall/winter 2015 menswear show, the collection was referred to as being “as rich and curated as a cabinet of curiosities.”  That is a pretty spot-on understanding of what showed up on the catwalk on Monday afternoon.

As visually dramatic as the big screen digital image backdrop of a grand palazzo filled with exotic animals was, it couldn’t distract from the fact that this collection was one of designer Kean Etro’s most elegantly subdued in quite some time.

Yes, there was an abundance of the brand’s signature paisley print swirling across tops, embossed into jackets or inserted into outerwear. However, they were more often than not fading in and out of the winter wools, velvets and corduroys that came down the catwalk in tone-on-tone looks. This treatment, the handy show notes revealed, was in fact a revived hand-painting technique that the house employed with artistic precision.

Other techy treatments that resulted in some beautifully traditional looking designs included a series of heat stamped velvet suits, as well as coats that incorporated two types of wool needle-stitched into a base silk fabric to induce a three-dimensional plaid effect.

The forward-thinking Etro might be fascinated with textile developments, but he makes sure that the brand continues to have those advancements work in service of the house's rich and colorful codes. This collection was a strong example of mind over matter in the pursuit of artistic sartorial adornment.