MILAN — Alberta Ferretti is passing the baton to Natalie Ratabesi as creative director of the younger Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti line.
The British designer’s first collection for the brand will bow for the fall 2013 season.
A Central Saint Martins alumna, Ratabesi was previously a senior creative director at Polo Ralph Lauren. She has also worked for brands including Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino and Gucci.
This is the first time Ferretti has entirely delegated the direction of the Philosophy brand to another designer. “I had been thinking about it for a while and felt this was the right moment to further develop the label in an independent way and differentiating it even more from the signature brand,” Ferretti told WWD.
She explained the decision will allow her to focus more on her namesake label in light of the market’s increased demands and of an increasingly diversified product offer. “Our bridal and demi-couture collections were originally only a few pieces, but they need more attention and time. The accessories category should be expanded. And I feel the need to be more present in more countries around the world. It’s a way to transmit one’s style, but it’s also a way to better understand different issues. It’s limiting to be closed in an office,” she said.
Ferretti praised Ratabesi’s “femininity and energy” and her previous “intense” relevant work experiences. “She is young, strong and determined, I’m sure she will be able to express the spirit of the brand,” observed Ferretti.
The Philosophy line was launched in 1984. In recent years, it has shown at New York Fashion Week. Asked if the brand will continue to do so, Ferretti said, “I want Natalie to feel that the project is hers also in terms of communication, but the idea is to remain in New York, it fits the brand and, also, she was living in that city.”
Ratabesi said she has always been impressed with Ferretti’s “enduring aesthetic, her clean and contemporary elegance,” and that it was her “desire to project Philosophy’s unique, timeless style and effortless femininity, which have always distinguished the brand, into the future.”
Massimo Ferretti, chairman of parent company Aeffe SpA, said that a lackluster economy needs “stimulating novelties,” and that an “evolution of the market banks on new designers.” He said that a designer’s creativity is called upon more and more, given the increasing number of presentations and collections. “There is a lot to do in so little time, the market is increasingly demanding and it’s essential to provide the right product and the best service,” he noted.
The arrival of Ratabesi “expresses the more dynamic and contemporary essence of our group, which looks to the future opening up to young individuals and offering them top-level opportunities,” he added.
Philosophy is available at 900 points of sale globally and 35 single-brand stores, including corners and shops-in-shop. Ferretti said the priority at the moment is “to push wholesale by offering a wider offer to clients and the right product.” Philosophy accounts for 10 percent of Aeffe’s sales, which last year totaled 246 million euros, or $341.9 million, up 12.2 percent compared with the previous year.
Aeffe controls the Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Pollini brands and produces and distributes collections for Cacharel and Cédric Charlier. The license with Jean Paul Gaultier will shift to Gibò SpA with the fall 2013 season. In September, Aeffe struck a deal with Emanuel Ungaro to produce and distribute its women’s top line clothing and accessories, tapping young designer Fausto Puglisi as the brand’s new creative director.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
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Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast