Bonnie J Brown
Oh, to live the bohemian life! To thwart convention, roam freely and love openly. It sounds like an ideal lifestyle; to do as you please when you pleaseâ€¦ Except for the part where you surrender yourself to a life of abject poverty, that part doesn’t sound so good. But just because you don’t intend to give up your home in order to rove the streets without care, that doesn’t mean you can’t, at the very least, dress the part.
Gypsies who were coming into France during the nineteenth century, to make a long history lesson short, were thought to be from Bohemia, when in actuality they were just the free-loving people described above, tooling around the French countryside. While the gypsy, as far as we know in Western Civilization, hasn’t exactly been prevalent in the past 100 years or so, hippies did take their place and their fashion. Loose flowing tunics, vibrant colors and a layering technique that, let’s face it, is pretty impressive (not everyone is daring enough to pull off a crocheted vest paired with a tie-dyed t-shirt. The clothing worn by both parties were, more or less, for comfort, ease of dress, and maybe even necessity. So, you ask, where is the fashion? This is where I turn your attention to Etro.
Etro, the Italian fashion house was founded in 1968 by Gimmo Etro, who designed fabulous fabrics featuring gorgeous colors and patterns. Etro eased into the fashion industry by developing accessories such as shawls, ties and scarves, which often times featured paisley, the design that made them truly popular.
It wasn’t until it’s premier fashion collection during the 1980’s that Etro was able to combine their beautiful fabrics of silk, cashmere, linen, and cotton all in bold riotous colors and chic patterns into a clothing line of free-flowing aesthetics (a la mode de bohemian) and classic tailoring that Italians are known for producing. While Etro is still a family business they certainly hold more of a presence in the fashion world today than ever before. They have taken their rightful place on the runway and every spring and fall women of every ilk are more than happy to wear their clothes, for it still projects a casual simplicity that makes wearing them easy and fun, with a cleverness that exudes elegance.
So, while I am sure we are still loath to give up the comforts of living in a home with a steady income and turn completely bohemian, at least we can thank Etro for giving us the chance to at least express a little bohemianism that’s inside all of us.
1. Young Bohemian Gypsy from the cover of Isabel Fonseca‘s book Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey www.mtholyoke.edu
2. Pamela Courson with Jim Morrison Angels dance and angels die: a Pamela Courson site freewebs.com/pamelacourson
3. Kate Bosworth in Etro my.opera.com
4. and 5. Etro Spring 2008 Collection style.com
6. Etro family contrasto.it
Image layout: Jessica Piraro