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April 20 2014

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In London, A New Outpost For The Globetrotting Etros

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Given that Kean Etro has the restless spirit of a natural nomad, it was a surprise to hear it was eight years since he was last in London. Nowadays, Kean prefers to spend his spare time in Mexico with his wife, Constanza, so it was family patriarch Gimmo who attended to the 18-month renovation that created the new Etro flagship on Old Bond Street. But Kean was there with brother Jacopo and sister Veronica—and Gimmo, of course—when the shop (above) opened for business last Thursday.

Previous tenants—for nearly 200 years—were the renowned Old Masters specialist Agnew’s, so the space was already appropriately laid out for the exhibition of rare and precious objets when Gimmo found it. The ground floor, for instance, is flooded with natural light from the skylights, which were a radical feature when Agnew’s installed them in the early nineteenth century. And the first floor, empty on opening night, is still a silk-wallpapered gallery, which inspired Kean to think about mounting the occasional show. The Etro family has always had an appetite for high culture, and there were already an impressive number of paintings and sculptures interspersed with the artful clothes and accessories on display.

After the cocktail in the store last week, guests headed a few blocks south to St James’s for dinner in Spencer House, the palace built for Diana’s ancestors in the mid-eighteenth century. It’s usually described as “sumptuous,” and who am I to disagree? Kean’s blazer in Etro’s signature paisley fit right in amidst the antique finery. The worn jeans and Astro Boy T-shirt with its flickering lenticular motif? A little less so. Still, not bad for a nomad.

Photos: Courtesy of Etro

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