You knew more than half the story of Alberta Ferretti's Spring Philosophy
collection the minute you walked into the showroom, where the floor was covered by a splashy Gauguin-esque chinoiserie print. Ferretti usually keeps a tight aesthetic rein on her secondary collection; she doesn't let much stray from being on the message of the season, and this was no different. The rest of the tale was little dresses and pajamalike shorts—all printed, all over—with matching conical hats and platform shoes. There was distinct promise here. Colorful little frocks are right up the Philosophy girl's alley, and she'd probably do some damage choosing from the terrific silk-covered and beaded shoes. But Ferretti erred on the side of literal references in frog buttons, cheongsam silhouettes, and dragon embroideries. When a belted trench, with a printed lining visible from the rolled-up sleeves, popped up in the midst of the Chinatown sea, it was a breath of fresh air and reality. A few more of those moments would have been welcome.