PARIS, France — Grace, lightness, airiness are categories Alberta Ferretti might claim to have fashionably invented — or maybe just mastered — way before so many others jumped on the bandwagon. And indeed it was lightness, in its highest and most refined form, that was expected for the debut of Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition, the brand's demi-couture line which opened the jam-packed Paris couture calendar yesterday.
"This not an haute couture collection," clarified Alberta Ferretti backstage in the sumptuous French salons where the show was staged. "Yet, these are creations that express the dreamier side of my personality. I enormously enjoyed working free of strictly commercial restraints and would love to do more," she continued.
And dreamy it was. The collection consisted mainly of sparkly, shiny, modernly rococo dresses in a very Ferretti palette of pale pastels and impalpable neutrals. Fringes were a recurring motif, adding further movement to the decorated surfaces. Yet Ferretti was at her best in the deceptively simple flappers that paid due homage to the subtle genius of Madeleine Vionnet.
As for Ferretti's trademark lightness, it was mostly absent, probably weighed down by the profusion of embroideries and decorations which amplified the opulence of the whole, but took away air and movement. Indeed this is a clear dilemma: the kind of visual richness which comes with intense decoration can be quite heavy, which means it is at odds with Ferretti's very own weightlessness. Injecting more air in to proceedings should be something to work on for the next collection. It's a matter of fine-tuning.