September 28, 2006
Sporty is not a concept you think of when you think of Gianfranco Ferré. Multilayered, embellished, and highly wrought are more like it. And so the nautical looks that opened his show had strayed about as far as they could from their casual roots. Stand-up-collar spencers in crisp gabardine topped trim shorts and striped athletic tanks embroidered with coats of arms. His take on the tracksuitan off-the-shoulder top with a ribbed neckline and loose-fitting pantscame in navy crinkled silk. The show had more laceas panels on zip-front leather shirts or trim on pleated cocktail dressesthan a Victoria's Secret store. To finish, he took us from the beaches of the Riviera to the dance halls of Spaina good move, as it turned out. The septet of flamenco dresses weren't surefire crowd-pleasers; tassels don't usually go over with the fashion crowd. But somehow all those layers of polka dots, contrast stripes, lace, and ruffled and pleated voile and chiffon worked. If his trademark taste for excess seemed heavy-handed elsewhere, here it came off as surprisingly light.