A lot of what makes high fashion exciting is it’s distance from reality. Clothes that seem weird, difficult or are controversial, from characters who are even more weird, more difficult and more controversial, makes for exciting buzz. To generalize wildly, the designers tend to be flamboyant men, or remarkably unadorned women who hide behind their hair and oversized unassuming clothes, while creating fantasies which they would clearly never where themselves. But there is a third category of designer who I think tends to get short shrift — elegant well dressed women who design clothes that they represent their personal style. They don’t always get lost in the melé – women like Donna Karen and Diane von Furstenberg have certainly had their moments in the sun, and everyone I have in mind has had a successful career and made a mighty good living designing clothes which is no small feat – but the attention they get is somehow different, and I think doesn’t do justice to their brilliance as designers. In this vein, I am always surprised that there isn’t more talk about Alberta Ferretti. No question, she is acknowledged as a major designer, but it seems to me that she isn’t placed in the same pantheon as say John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld or Alexander McQueen. And admittedly, her clothes reflect a very different kind of artistry. But season after season, without fail, she designs some of the most pretty clothes I have ever seen (all of which I want, and most of which – even without a supermodel’s figure – I could actually wear).
I don’t know if it’s just my own perception, but “pretty” tends to be something of a dirty word. Like the curse of faint praise. Oh, she’s very pretty. How pretty, dear. As if to say, well, it’s not quite fabulous, but don’t feel bad. Pretty means soft and superficial, lacking teeth. As much as I love grit and edge, I want pretty to be an acceptable, even desirable, quality. When done really well, done just right, pretty can take your breath away. That’s what Alberta Ferretti does. Both with her eponymous line and her younger Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti line, she exudes pretty that’s not saccharine but perfection.
These are certainly designer collections, and priced accordingly, but at the end of each season Alberta Ferretti has a killer sale of both collections on the online store. 60% off. Sometimes even 70% off. Right now the fall collections are available at up to 60% off. Yeah, yeah, still pricey. But it makes the dresses awfully tempting.
What really disturbs me is that Alberta Ferretti has not been recognized as a major shoe designer. She makes the sexiest shoes.
Admittedly, not guy sexy, but shoes that women lust after. I think the boots from last fall are the most incredible shoes I have ever seen.