Alberta Ferretti claimed two things for her show today: She wanted it to be recognizable as her own work, and she wanted it to look authentic. Possibly two sides of the same coin, because if a romantic fin de siècle mood is Ferretti's default position, she aced familiarity and authenticity with her new collection. Take, for instance, the dusty black dress made up of seemingly haphazard diagonal tiers of lace, silk, and plissé. In one world, a Ferretti evening dress for a dreamy, last-gasp countdown. In another, glamorous widow's weeds.

There were two distinct strands in the collection she showed. The elongated elegance of a Mitteleuropa madame was precisely snared in a column of deep aubergine velvet, as severe as a penitent princess. The dark twinkle of a garnet-beaded black velvet jacket also said madame. And it was such a woman's daughter whose spirit was captured by the jeune fille flair of a peplumed jacket and a skating skirt. Ferretti said she was aiming for a sculptural quality in her clothes. The silhouettes certainly defined a strong, clear line. Perhaps that is why the most memorable piece in the show was the simplest: a sleeveless plaid shift with a discreet cluster of embroidery at each shoulder. The clincher? It had pockets.