The ETRO brand has history, culture, and passion pulsing through its veins, thanks largely to the tight-knit siblings working diligently to preserve the vision of their father, Gimmo Etro. As womenswear creative director, Veronica Etro looks to the internal compass honed from spending her childhood years sketching on the design floor, while also looking to music, art, and nature to guide her forward. The Daily Summer spoke with the eternally positive leader to hear what keeps her glass half full. Cin cin!
You joined the family business in 1997. What goals have remained the same since your first day?
I graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London in 1997. I returned to Milan to assist my brother Kean, who was then responsible for both men’s and women’s collections. For me, since day one, it was fundamental to preserve and nurture our founding values and stylistic codes, as defined by my father, Gimmo, with ETRO’s foundation in 1968. He created a distinctive aesthetic characterized by effortless elegance—paisley prints, eclectic patterns, and particular color combinations.
How has the brand kept up with the changing world?
ETRO has evolved and adapted to trends, but we have always believed in our identity; the challenge is to innovate while remaining faithful to our values. A great example is how paisley has become an identifying symbol of the brand, but every season I think of how I can renovate it by using different techniques and combining it with different patterns.
What was it like growing up in a fashion family?
I used to go to the office with my father on Saturdays, where I’d sit on high stools with watercolors, fabric swatches, and glue and make collages. This was the best colorful playground! I wanted to do something linked with creativity and design. It wasn’t just about fashion, it was more about design at 360 degrees.
What are some of your other early fashion memories?
I remember my father coming home with swatches of printed colorful fabrics, asking for my favorite. I was about 5 or 6 years old and I was totally into bright and figurative prints.
ETRO is always referred to as bohemian and eclectic. Is that how you would describe your own sensibility?
“Bohemian” and “eclectic” are two realities of ETRO, but not the only ones. Of course, my own style and sensibility includes this aesthetic, but I also love the rock-punk-glam mood, as well as a free-spirited one combined with an effortless, relaxed attitude.
Your collections have the best references! What style icons do you always have on your moodboard?
It depends from collection to collection, as I try to change every time. I can skip from Jimi Hendrix, Rudolf Nureyev, Brigitte Bardot, and Jane Birkin to “pirate women,” like Anne Bonny and Mary Read, to aristo groupies or surfers, like Victoria Vergara, or dandies, new romantics, and artists. They’re all part of the big ETRO tribe.
Tell us how paisley became such an intrinsic part of the brand. What’s the backstory there?
Paisley is part of our DNA; it represents life and is rich in history and meanings. It’s like a logo without being one, and it’s open to endless interpretations. ETRO has explored and reinterpreted the classic droplet-shaped motif through experimentation and technology. I constantly look through our family archives for inspirations and often find myself reinterpreting past designs with a personal touch.
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What about the Pegasus? Why is it symbolic to the brand?
My father, Gimmo, adopted the Pegasus as our distinctive figurative brand logo back in 1968, when he founded the company. It has been present in our lifestyle and collections ever since. Pegasus flies in the sky on feathered wings, leading us over every frontier; its history is written in the eternity of the myth. Freedom and discovery also seem to be recurring themes.
How do you channel that?
ETRO is free-spirited and its lifestyle is unique and recognizable. We’re unconventional—breaking the rules and feeling free to express our imagination and dreams. Inspiration can come from anywhere—a dream, a scent, a vintage record player, a movie, a book, an exhibition, nature, art! The important thing is to go with the flow and to be instinctive. It’s fundamental to see beyond reality and to be visionary.
You’ve been working with the band Måneskin, who recently won the Eurovision Song Contest! How important is music in your day-to-day life?
Music is important to me as it spreads emotions, and I think emotions play a fundamental role in fashion and clothes, too. I have different favorite artists, from rock to Italian rap, classic, pop, and disco. It all depends on the mood. Maneskin is a group of young and unique people, with a rock soul that’s hard to find today. We like their rebellious spirit and attitude, which works well with the philosophy and aesthetics of ETRO. I loved working with Maneskin, and I’m so glad they won both Sanremo Music Festival and Eurovision 2021. They deserved it! Their energy is contagious!
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What is the ETRO woman up to and excited for right now? And what’s she interested in wearing again?
She’s excited about wearing pieces for everyday and mixing them with special items—hoodies with embroidered sheepskin coats, jeans and T-shirts with pieces that create unexpected layerings. She’s also interested in wearing unisex pieces—like the striped oversize cotton shirt and the boyfriend blazer—and rediscovering pieces from the past. For example, in the S/S ’21 collection, there are 1990s fashion essentials, such as Bermuda shorts, one-piece swimsuits, Capri pants, bucket bags, sailor shorts, and coordinated sets.
We hear you picked up needlepoint over the past year. What other hobbies do you want to get into one day?
I would love to get more into photography. I approached it at Central Saint Martins, but I would
like to further explore this fabulous form of art.
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You’re a very positive person. How do you stay optimistic and motivated?
I love my work, so even when I’m under stress, I try to see the glass as being half full and not half empty. This is my attitude in life, always being optimistic even in hard times.
What are three things you want to do this summer?
Visit the Sistine Chapel and do a guided tour of Rome, walk barefoot in nature, and dance and enjoy timewith my family and friends!