Feature Friday: ETquette

The Belle Époque is known for elegant fashions and exaggerated silhouettes that marry naturalistic designs with artistic flair, and if you are looking to add some of those graceful, sweeping lines to your own wardrobe (historical or modern), this month’s feature is the perfect place to start.

The ETquette shop features all manner of clothing from the turn of the century, everything from accessories, like belts and capes, to underwear, like ruffled petticoats and bustle pads. There are also full dresses and outfits, so you can create a head-to-toe late Victorian or Edwardian look. Each unique ready-to-wear piece is bright and colorful (as was often found in the period), but if you are looking for something in a different style, you can commission your own individual, personalized item of clothing too. 



Founder and designer Elena has long been interested in sewing and historic clothing. “Since childhood, thanks to my grandmothers and my mother, embroidery and sewing has been a part of my life,” she recalled.

“I have always had a passion for costumes,” she continued, “and when I discovered the steampunk style, I thought I had found my cup of tea. However, studying historical costumes made me realize that historical clothing can be more imaginative than fantasy itself. Today, my primary goal is to create late Victorian and early Edwardian garments as close as possible to the originals.”

But while Elena loves creating, her true passion is research, or “digging” as she puts it. “I attended the Artistic High School with a focus on Cultural Heritage Cataloging, the Academy of Fine Arts with a focus on Decoration, and finally specialized in Landscape Design and Green Area Planning,” Elena explained. “After various work experiences, I realized that everything I love has in common the act of researching, digging, and organizing. Thus, I decided to combine all my skills and make myself available by creating ETquette.”

“My main sources of study are catalogs, magazines, and newspapers from the past,” Elena added, “which I try to rescue from being transformed into shabby chic decorations whenever possible, along with the fortunately preserved original pieces.”

It’s this passion for research that allows her to create such meticulous and beautiful pieces for her clients. “As they say, ‘the devil is in the details,’ so I respond to the needs of those who seek unique, original, and sometimes extravagant pieces to complete or enhance their historical outfits,” she explained. “For example, the Mucha cape was created in five unique pieces, each in a different color and hand-painted.”


But clothing is not all you can find in the ETquette shop. She also offers beautifully detailed hand-painted photography backdrops “that recreate the right atmosphere” for your outfits. Elena explained why she choose to expand her shop with these backdrops. “Unfortunately, not everyone lives in a palace, and we don't always have the opportunity to set up outdoors. Even today, many ‘mechanical photographers’ seek to enhance their clients' figures through past techniques, and, just like in the past, backdrops are the first allies of fashion,” she added.

You can find all the shop’s ready-to-wear offerings at www.etiquette.it, and you can keep up to date with all Elena’s creations by following the shop’s Facebook and Instagram, @et.quette_shop, and her personal Instagram, @et.quette.

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