Masculine versus feminine is an enduring theme in fashion—in any given season, plenty of designers will cite it as the tension they were most keen to explore. So it's rather surprising that it took until today, and the Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti show at the Plaza, for us to see a collection premised on the idea of seriously femme-y clothes made out of neckties. Duh! And double duh! Honestly, designers of the world: Where have your brains been all this time?
Ferretti didn't put things quite like that when, after the show, she talked about her visit to Canepa, the Italian firm legendary for its necktie silks. "I wasn't sure what I was looking for," she recalled, "and then I came upon this room, filled with the most beautiful materials…" And the clouds parted, and the god of fashion spoke and he said, Let there be fitted frocks, pencil skirts, bustiers, and short shorts patchworked out of necktie silks. And so there were, in red tonal variations that had a lot of kick, as well as combinations of blue and cream and purple and burnished gold. The look proved surprisingly durable—it served barely there strapless frocks, and tailored suiting in office-friendly silhouettes. That said, the novelty did start to wear off after a while, and the collection could have used more of Ferretti's metallic brocade and meshlike striped knits to help break things up. Still, there were a lot of fun and sales-friendly pieces here, and you've got to give Ferretti credit for having a very good, and, in retrospect, incredibly obvious idea.