Europe remains in a malaise. The economy is stalled; a bunch of countries including France just sent a bunch of right-wing fringe types to the EU parliament; and right at the edge of the Union, over in the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin threatens to turn off the gas taps, thumbing his nose at the West. Yikes. Not so cheerful! Which is why Alberta Ferretti
decided to focus on cheering up women this season. For Ferretti, turning frowns upside down meant going crazy with color: The new collection looked like a bowl of Skittles, if Skittles had a sort of late sixties/early seventies thing going on, and boasted painterly jacquards and sequins. Ferretti's most interesting looks betrayed her interest in negative space, stripping away, and sheerness—a top and trim pants in a peppy floral print that gave way to floral embroidery on a sheer background, an A-line red coat with a floral silk intarsia. She also repeated the intarsia theme for evening, creating a tonal pattern in velvet in the skirt of a strapless burgundy-brown gown. Those velvet intarsia pieces had a dark glamour perhaps more in keeping with the actual mood of Europe than the one Ferretti sought to impose. In general, though, this collection certainly hewed to the bright side.