ALBERTA FERRETTI AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR MILAN FASHION WEEK

ALBERTA FERRETTI AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR MILAN FASHION WEEK

The backdrop of Alberta Ferretti’s presentation was stunning: a time-lapse sunrise in wintry woods. New day rising. What a gorgeous, optimistic point for a fashion show to start. Ferretti took that notion somewhere even more extravagant, to the Italian Renaissance, when an entirely new, world-changing culture dawned. It was one of those fabulous fashion synchronicities that Alessandro Michele was talking about exactly the same thing at his Gucci debut today. Maybe it’s an Italian thing. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket for Italy. How reaffirming it must be to be reminded of that moment in history when the country straddled the globe with its glory. Was anything ever more “Made in Italy” than the Renaissance? Both designers eulogized its modernity, but for Ferretti, with all her experience, it was the sophistication of the materials that appealed. The gilded brocades, the velvets, and the tapestries of the Renaissance were translated into jacquard patchworks, or prints on georgette and velvet, or the textured trapunto of a red silk redingote. She achieved the most extraordinary effect with the needle punching of organdy and mohair, creating a soft but substantial fabric on which she embroidered a dégradé velvet. She also showed cozy mohair coats for cold castles.

The biggest issue with the collection was that as the clothes came down the runway, they appeared to have a costumey weight, when, in fact, they were defined by softness and an almost incomprehensible lightness. An over-embroidered, crocheted gilet looked to be lifted from Bea Arthur’s Maude wardrobe, and yet on the hanger it felt like feathers. Testament to Ferretti’s technique, less so to the notion that the first bite is taken with the eye.

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