January 15, 2012 Milan
Discombobulation was the starting point. The show launched straight into lush monochrome eveningwear. Damasks, brocades, and floor-length fringed scarves were garb for decadent fin-de-siècle nights. Then Kean went to the birds—from one jacket made entirely of quail feathers to another featuring a flurry of coq feathers atop its Prince of Wales-checked swallow tails, from a big-time pimping feathered hat to green-soled slip-ons with a feathered cap toe. It got to the point where even a sober tan trench spun to reveal a feathery addendum. Dry cleaners of the world, you have been warned.
A more traditional Etro made its presence felt in a paisley parka and jacquard suitings. An eye-popping pairing of a Chinese red velvet jacket and orange plaid pants was a salutary reminder that Etro's traditions actually aren't even that traditional. Still, it's obvious that Mexico has gotten right under Kean's skin, because Indian blanket patterns overshadowed the family paisley, especially in bold black and white. So, did Kean earn his wings? Well, the show came off part Pegasus, part Icarus. It rose, it fell. That probably matters not a jot to the designer himself. The finale featured huge Indian blankets printed with a Mayan sun clock and the words "Game Over." Apocalypse now? Kean just chuckled.