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VM Choice: Etro of Bond Street

Etro has a very interesting eye-catching window at the moment. Spend a few moments studying the giant light box behind the mannequins in its Bond St. store and notice that the light level in the back-projected image changes, so that the mono-chromatic Baroque cloistered space appears to move from daytime to night and back.

Careful selection of the image - which is redolent of Italian Baroque architecture, with its checkerboard marble floor and colonnaded arches - underlines Etro’s Italian heritage, and also suggests the changing nature of fashion, just as daylight changes.

What better way to suggest that Etro’s merchandise is timeless, and appropriate for day to evening wear, than using movement to attract attention?

The merchandise is rather an interesting mix too and something of a puzzle. Generally, for VM dressing, formal goes with formal and casual with casual. Here Etro breaks the rules: perched on the giant checkerboard-topped plinth in the foreground of the window, one female mannequin is wearing a smart cocktail dress, and a second female mannequin wears a formal business suit.

A little strangely, the male mannequin wears a casual-style quilted Barbour-style jacket, classic pants, and Oxford lace-up shoes. These last two garments are both associated with formal wear. A checked stalking hat - another countryside classic - is displayed on a black-topped side-table along with a messenger bag, and a formal crocodile handbag tops the second black and white patterned high side-table. We usually associate quilted clothing with casual wear and the country: hunting, shooting and fishing, so the sense of the window becomes rather a puzzle. We might surmise the formally dressed mannequins are attending a function in the Baroque palace, but how does that account for the quilted jacket?

Possibly, it is the designer’s intention that quilted clothing has its moment as a formal fashion item. Certainly Etro’s range is smart enough to do this. But, just possibly, maybe the sales staff have dressed the mannequins?