Alberta Ferretti SS16 Milan Fashion Week

The backdrop of Alberta Ferretti’s show was an aerial video of the desert: sand sliding over mile upon mile of dunes, nothing but sun, wind, and sky—and just about as far away from Milan’s rain-soaked streets as you could get today. The wide-open vistas offered clues to Ferretti’s frame of mind. “The desert is free, there’s movement, there are possibilities,” she said backstage. “I closed my eyes and we had many, many ideas.”

Nature is a theme that Fausto Puglisi would take up a few hours later, but where his version was rough around the edges, Ferretti’s this season was bohemian. There was a bit of the festival girl—Coachella by way of Burning Man—to her pieced lace slip dresses and patchwork suede shifts in warm shades of brown and black. Ferretti has made a specialty of whisper-thin dresses over the years. Usually they have more of a red carpet orientation, but true to her word, here they came in breezy chiffons with fraying at the edges and as a decorative motif. Along with the lacy white cotton numbers, slightly Victorian in spirit, these were among the best pieces in the show, effortless and earthy, perched on corded gladiator sandals where some of the more elaborately worked and printed dresses, often with rough-hewn gold jewelry, came off heavy and overdone.

A detour through some safari-influenced daywear captured that easy vibe, but they seemed rather beside the point. At Alberta Ferretti, the dress is always the thing.

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