Alberta Ferretti Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Show

Two columns of white coat–wearing atelier workers greeted guests at Alberta Ferretti’s show. Backstage, she was eager to point out that they’re the house’s seamstresses and tailors. The feminine-masculine story is as old as fashion itself, but it isn’t one Ferretti has tended to riff on during her long career. She’s the kind of designer who gets called on during awards season, famous for a particularly ethereal sort of frock. While she didn’t ignore those here, her new collection had a certain edge. It came across at first via the tooled-leather corset that Bella Hadid wore with a long tiered ruffle skirt in an amethyst-color silk, and next via the cowboy belts slung around the waist of Grace Hartzel’s turquoise peplum tank and floor sweeper.

The surprise was Ferretti’s embrace of tailoring. Layered underneath a ruffly chiffon frock were flared trousers, and accompanying a silk peasant blouse were crisp shorts—not groundbreaking ideas, but nonetheless modern ways to balance her signature frills. In contrast, the multicolored floral thread embroidery on a different series of dresses looked a touch predictable, old even; it’s what you expect of Ferretti. But overall she was after something more unpredictable. Cut in humble cotton, the designer’s ankle-grazing skirts and cropped tanks look like the kinds of things athletic young Hollywood types would enjoy wearing on the premiere circuit. They had a certain energy. It’s never too late to try rewriting your playbook.

By Nicole Phelps

Alberta Ferretti Spring/Summer 2017 Fashion Show