Kean Etro likes to spin yarns, in both senses of the term. After his fabrics are woven and his designs made, he attaches a story to them. This season's was titled ManWash, and the first thing the audience saw on entering the room was a full set of car wash paraphernalia. The impenetrable program notes suggested that Kean was keen to put his models through the same processes as fabricwashing, treating, dryingin order to create a bond between clothes and the man who wears them. Mercifully, this oddly off-putting notion translated into another of the designer's usual upbeat romps.
For all his wayward intellect, Etro does possess an infallible and often thrilling sense of coloras in a grass-green velvet jacket under a pumpkin velvet topcoat. But while oranges, lilacs, and greens are the label's lifeblood, his fall palette expanded to include rich heathery tones and the colors of changing leaves. He also explored the dressy-casual clash that is obsessing Milan at present. Skinny sweaters hung below jacket hems, suit trousers came with tracksuit stripes or ankle-height combat pockets, seams on jackets and coats were exposed. Only Etro, with his can't-help-himself decorative drive, would trim those seams in floral motifsnot to mention line a tapestry coat with an eighteenth century print, and march an orange ponyskin coat through the car wash.