Alberta Ferretti cannily anticipated a fashion curve in Milan tonight. She mounted an actual show for the pre-fall offering that has subtly inserted itself into the fashion calendar as a new season, and then she glossed it with a presentation of 20 "demi-couture" looks, worn by a platoon of twenty-first-century It girls flown in from all over the world. So, what does a twenty-first-century It girl look like? Clearly, genes are important. Andie MacDowell begat Margaret Qualley. Tali Lennox calls Annie mum. Amber Le Bon has morning cornflakes with Simon and Yasmin. But, family aside, Ferretti logged on to different criteria. Bloggers Hanneli Mustaparta, Oroma Elewa, and Candice Lake are Internet supermodels. That translated pretty easily to a catwalk. Co-catwalkers Audrey Marnay, Zani Gugelmann, and Solange Knowles are familiar with a more traditional spotlight.
The thing that united all these disparate women tonight was a collection of clothes that could be construed as an escape into a silvery lunar landscape as viewed by F. Scott Fitzgerald (even if, in reality, he was too busy swigging gin with dissolute flappers to ever go off-planet). "Jazz Age" was one of Ferretti's touchstones for both collections. With yet another version of The Great Gatsby upon us, that seemed like a timely reference. It was quite literal in the first pre-fall section of the show, with cloche hats and cocooning coats creating a twenties silhouette, and elongated plissé chiffons offering a languid take on cocktail dressing (which is, in itself, a Jazz Age notion). The fur lapels and sleeves on a long black coat cried out for a Stutz Bearcat. Ferretti piled on black paillettes for her pre-fall finale, but she swathed them in chunky knits that felt about as modern as you're ever going to make a Liza Minnelli moment.
And then came her platoon of It girls in the silvery, gilded demi-couture. You could feel Ferretti's heart in these clothes: a fox collar on a gray flannel coat-dress; beaded, banded chinchilla over a silvery lace confection; lacquered Fortuny pleating trailing away in a fishtail. They were the sort of looks that make a certain kind of young woman dream of being a fashion designer. And, in their moonstruck dreaminess, they might be the sort of clothes that would inspire a certain kind of young woman to buy and wear them.