As a child in Messina, Italy, a port city in the northeastern corner of Sicily, Marco De Vincenzo, whose parents owned a vehicle registration agency, assumed that a career in fashion was, if not impossible, at least ambitious. And yet, “I remember hearing the story of Gianni Versace,” who grew up just across the sea in Reggio Calabria, says the 44-year-old designer, Etro’s creative director since last June. “I thought, ‘If he started from here and succeeded, so can I.’”
At 18, De Vincenzo left home to study fashion at Rome’s Istituto Europeo di Design. Three years later, he was hired at Fendi — where he remains head designer of leather goods — and in 2009, at 30, he founded his own women’s wear brand, which featured a mix of loud patterns, bright colors and opulent trimmings. In 2014, the France-based luxury conglomerate LVMH acquired a 45 percent stake in his company. But like many of his peers, De Vincenzo was affected by the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, and suspended the label in 2020.
De Vincenzo took the obstacle as an opportunity to re-evaluate his role in the industry. Rather than jumping back into ready-to-wear, he embarked on an upcycling project, reinventing vintage pieces he’d been collecting for years. He called the line Supèrno, which translates loosely to “at the top,” a nod to the finished garment’s place at the end of the production process. “I was trying to plan another life for my brand dedicated to sustainability,” he says. “But Etro came, and everything changed.”
Despite the pressure of being the first nonfamily member to lead the Italian house — the previous co-creative directors were the second-generation siblings Kean and Veronica Etro — De Vincenzo remains relatively sanguine. “It was an opportunity to be part of a story,” he says. The spring 2023 collection, De Vincenzo’s debut for Etro, was marked by ebullient palettes and feminine silhouettes (botanical jacquard denim maxiskirts, beaded ombré minidresses) that traded the brand’s bourgeois-bohemian aesthetic for a more youthful look. “Etro asked me not to repeat what they’d done but to find a combination between my experience and theirs,” he says. “It’s visible when you look at the [first] show; sometimes I appear, sometimes it’s Etro.”