We are what we eat
Just in time for Milan’s food-themed world Expo next year, the Puglia-based Etro tailors have been busy cooking up a Spring 2015 collection that pays homage to Italy’s great culinary tradition.
With a nod to Arcimboldo’s luscious 16th century vegetable portraits as well as the classic Italian tavola imbandita (an endless banquet-style table piled with rich abundance), Kean’s latest men’s collection is fueled by food. Prints are packed with dancing pastas, swirling Etro home plates, and piles of raw crustaceans. Tomato sauce embroideries are poured over pasta prints. The distinctive check and striped patterns of traditional tablecloths, dish cloths and napkins are unfurled on chic men’s suiting.
The patterns this season are artful compositions that converse playfully with their culinary source material. Digital photographs of real design team meals are fractured into kaleidoscopes of food, while vegetables, lasagne and risotti Milanese are given a metaphysical touch. Patterns, including dense florals and swirling paisley, alternate between macro and micro formats, surprising the eye as they move back and forth into focus. A sunny palette of bright yellow, electric pink, turquoise speaks to the carefree summer mood.
The collection buzzes with new energy and brims with adventure, but the clothes are firmly rooted in the solidarity of Etro’s sartorial know-how. Double breasted jackets swing with ease, pants possess a new relaxed shape.
Jackets and coats are beautifully lined in traditional silk with Napolitain stripes or an Indian paisley. Bomber jackets, trackpants and trench coats fuse the collection with a sporty non-chalance.
The collection opens with five white jackets, each impeccably crafted from an unusual organic material. From bamboo, hemp, nettle, and even milk, the unorthodox woven natural fibers create a biodiversity of textiles and fresh textures. Also featured: boiled cashmere, cotton silk, silk linen, rustic cottons. The collection comes to a close with a silk track suit covered in Kean‘s all-time favorite meal: spaghetti alle vongole. Accessories include bi-color mocassins in hemp and leather, lace-up shoes in a patchwork of cork, hemp and real wood, and bowling bags printed with trompe l’oeil embossed paisleys and stripes.
The obsession with food this season reverberates further than the confines of fashion. Together with Carlo Petrini - President of Italy’s Slow Food movement - Kean has also embarked on an initiative to build 10,000 vegetable gardens throughout Africa. Entitled Terra Madre, the charity links with the theme of this season’s collection as well as next year’s Expo to create an homage to Italy’s excellence in food and fashion, and to the great potential and adventure that lays wait around bountiful tables throughout the world.