She's come a long way from girly chiffon and folksy boho. From the very first look, a chain-belted sixties fur coat with rounded shoulders, it was apparent Alberta Ferretti would be making interesting strides into a new kind of sophistication. Grown-up wasn't quite the word for it, because these were still clothes for a young woman; it's just that she had synthesized ideas about structure and styling in a way that looked valid for the season, but that was also highly personal.
She can do a little pleated shift, of course; that came second in the show. There was a distinct difference in mood this time, though, apparent in the way she used the reference point of the mod sixties to make a statement of her own. Anyone can do an easy retro show, but Ferretti's individual touch ensured that these clothesthe flat, calf-high boots, the stiff, rounded capes and pod-shape skirtsweren't vintage rehash. She made a hybrid out of fall's heavier black, navy, brown, and gray wools and jerseys and her usual light, romantic pintucks and ruffles, often pulling looks together with the great unifying device of a wide metal-link belt, woven onto suede.
There were many (perhaps too many) different kinds of dresses: short shifts, Empire-line cocktail dresses, almost Edwardian-waist ones. The best were her versions of the long, slim gowns in daywear fabric that have become the Milan trend. She personalized a navy one with a bib of pintucked chiffon shirting, a good example of avoiding the too obvious. As for red carpet, Ferretti sent Carmen Kass out in a stiff gold double-knit Lurex gownit had a whiff of the sixties, but was very new, too. As we said, a long way from the predictable girly chiffon. Plaudits to her.