Alberta Ferretti is rarely a trend-chaser - more content to waft down her own dreamy road of rambling romanticism and wait for fashion to bump into her, rather than actively seeking it out. Or at least, she usually is. For Autumn/Winter 2011, Ferretti's train of thought collided with the sixties/seventies beat throbbing through much of fashion.
That was a boon time for the Milanese, seizing supremacy over Florence and Rome in the Italian fashion stakes, establishing a hardcore manufacturing base that still powers fashion today, and giving Paris a creative run for its money. Ferretti erred on the side of the sixties rather than the seventies, channelling yet more Saint Laurent alongside Cardin, Courreges and even Mary Quant in a collection of bright Pop colours and firm wool tunic-dresses. Those tunic dresses were the big story for day, micro-mini but combined with super-high, elaborately-embellish fabric boots. When I say high, I mean over-the-knee - or rather up-to-the-crotch - as opposed to the heel, which was squared-off and mid-height. That tunic-boot combo was highly reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent's 'Robin Hood' collection of the mid-sixties - when the boots were replaced with skinny trousers, it had distinct airs of Courreges space-age chic, likewise the firm wool-jersey coats in tomato or hefty brocade. The pussy-bowed chiffon mini-dresses were more Ferretti's usual bag: again, they had a mood of the sixties, this time Mia Farrow in 'Rosemary's Baby' - although they looked a bit clumsy slung over those interminable higher-than-high boots.
Evening saw Ferretti return to what she does so very well - embellished, fluttery chiffon evening dresses. They felt like a volte-face to the sleek retro-Futurism of her daywear - but Ferretti has never really been a go-to label for that. The issue here, however, was that much of the eveningwear didn't feel very Ferretti either, bias-cut, embellished frocks with a touch of the nineties Galliano to them. Maybe that sixties vibe was actually a sixties-via-nineties vibe, collapsing revival into revival? Well, that's one way to make sense of this collection - although I'm not sure it'll hold up under scrutiny. I'm also not sure where the twisty, turny column of liquid black satin-back crepe with a single fluid sleeve came from. But wherever it was, Ferretti should take us there more often. It looked new - for us, and for her, and unlike the rest of this collection.