Inspiration comes in many forms. For some designers, their flare stems from exotic reptiles and near extinct mammals, as seen in Cavalli’s 2005 Fall Runway, while the more bizarre dip into the unknown realm of outer space, evidenced by Balenciaga’s 2007 Spring collection. And for others, like dress designer extraordinaire, Alberta Ferretti, inspiration can be traced to Federico Fellini, one of the most revered film directors of 20th century Italian cinema.
Known for dresses that reflect sensuality yet respect individuality, Alberta Ferretti has become one of the most celebrated designers of the decade. She and her brother, Mossimo Ferretti own Aeffe Group: their company manages the Alberta Ferretti brand as well as diverse labels such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, Narsisco Rodriguez and Rifat Orzbek. A humble designer, a rare trait in today’s egocentric fashion world, Ferretti has long been an admirer and supporter of other designers.
With the vivacious atmosphere of 1960s and 1970s Italy, a young Ferretti discovered her love for beautiful fabrics at her mother’s small atelier. At the age of eighteen she opened a boutique in her hometown Cattolica, Italy, a small town near Rimini on the Adriatic Coast, and thirty years later her world-renowned designs are helping to restore the word grace to the fashion lexicon.
Strongly influenced by Fellini’s provocative and beautiful films, which combined memory, dreams, fantasy and desire, Ferretti embarked on a path that led her to a Milan runway debut in 1981. Taking cues from the cinematic master, Ferretti has employed a certain romance and sophistication with her designs – a seemingly contradictory combination, yet she has the artistry and skill to pull it off.
But oxymorons seem to be in Ferretti’s vocabulary. The French use the phrase â€œcontemporain mais intemporel,â€? which translates to â€œcontemporary yet timeless,â€? and that is an apt description not only of her Spring 2007 collection, but is a theme that resonates throughout her design history.
Ferretti’s delicate women were sent down the spring runway in wispy chiffon frocks, reminiscent of the dream-like state of Fellini’s films but were infused with cool modern hues like ice blue, cobalt and metallic gray.
Ferretti has said, â€œPutting women in costumes is not futuristic. It’s not modern. I don’t want to put women in clothing that looks forced.â€? It is with that idea in mind that Ferretti is able to maintain the delicate balance of keeping trend yet remaining nostalgic. While she would be quick to dismiss the word nostalgic for it’s dated implications, Ferretti is eager to blend the old with the new, the Golden Age with the New Age.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art-Costume Institute