DUBAI: Luxury Italian fashion house Etro has focused its attention on Saudi Arabia, and CEO Fabrizio Cardinali told Arab News it was “the first step of a bigger project in the Gulf area.”
In May, Etro launched its newest boutique in Riyadh’s Kingdom Center — the brand opened its first store in the country in 2008 — further strengthening its presence in Saudi Arabia.
Cardinali said: “Businesswise, Saudi Arabia is an established but constantly growing market for Etro, and we strongly believe in its potential. Riyadh is the first step of a bigger project in the Gulf area.”
Spread over 200 square meters, the new boutique features a VIP room — a space to offer customers a personalized and luxurious shopping experience.
“The VIP room aims to provide esteemed clients with privacy and an opportunity to explore our settings more intimately,” he added.
Following the latest store opening, he said the response to the collection had confirmed the appeal of the brand since its introduction to the Saudi market.
“In the Middle East, categories such as eveningwear, leather goods, accessories, and perfumes perform exceptionally well. The local clientele generally appreciates high-quality apparel and accessories that blend seamlessly with their lifestyles and cultural backgrounds,” Cardinali said.
In Saudi Arabia, specifically, he noted that the brand had witnessed a trend of women embracing a blend of traditional elegance and modern experimentation.
“This trend perfectly matches the DNA of the brand we are exploring and reinterpreting through the vision of our new creative director, Marco De Vincenzo,” he added.
Since his appointment last year, De Vincenzo has received rave reviews for his collections at Etro, ushering in a new era at the house.
De Vincenzo told Arab News: “I keep a maximalist point of view without considering the past as an endpoint but as a starting point. I try to keep myself free in interpreting the brand codes already here before my arrival.”
The spring-summer 2024 line featured a more-is-more vibe with clashing prints, large motifs, and a fresh take on paisleys. For instance, a bodycon midi boasted an octopus on the chest surrounded by the signature motif.
“Paisley will always be an important signature for the brand, even if the power of the brand goes beyond one unique pattern,” De Vincenzo said.
In addition, he has been experimenting with the silhouettes — oversized blazers, fishtail skirts, edgy varsity jackets, elevated knitwear, and voluminous dresses.
“I’m working on taking Etro into the future. The mix of patterns and fabrics is part of the brand’s DNA and is very close to me.
“For my generation, the link between Etro, the birth of Made in Italy, and the exploitation of the fashion industry is enough to tell a dream because we lived those moments,” De Vincenzo added.
Earlier this year, he designed the Vela bag, his first bag for the house, which quickly gained a cult status. An overall minimalist purse, its standout feature is the chain link and medallion with the Etro logo on one side and Pegasus on the other – reminiscent of an ancient coin.
De Vincenzo said: “I started with the classic zip bag used by the older generation, and then I created a contemporary object where design played a key role. The result is a minimal, bold, and timeless bag. Vela has many features that an accessory needs to have in 2023.”