By  on July 5, 2005

MILAN — Alberta Ferretti is slated to present her first Rome-based fashion show this month, scheduled during the city's couture week. Couture, however, is not how the designer describes the 25 pieces she will be showing there."It's more about personal tailoring," said Ferretti during a press conference last Friday, before running to tend to her new 155-foot boat which she is building. "Customers have different needs, to which I adapt the clothes," said the designer. "For example, her culture and her position forbids Queen Rania of Jordan from wearing sheer or plunging necklines, while an actress such as Reese Witherspoon wears my dresses as I originally designed them," she said, referring to two of her high-profile customers, who also include Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba and Beyonce Knowles. "I recently started paying more attention to the personalization of some outfits, depending on the personality and the style of the wearer or the event she attends," said Ferretti.Ferretti said she has been investing in research, new materials, and handmade craftsmanship for this collection. The designer will show dresses with crystals that have a vintage effect, as they have been soaked in acid for four days. Another outfit is made of 800 assembled chiffon petals. The show will be held on the evening of July 13 in Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome's Capitol Hill — a stunning venue designed by Michelangelo and a location not usually allocated for fashion events. That same day, the designer will be bestowed an award for her career and her contribution to Italian arts and culture around the world.Rome's couture week kicks off next Monday and runs until July 15. The international competition "Who's on Next?" marks the first day of the shows."This is a project dedicated to the scouting of new designers, promoted by Alta Roma and Vogue Italia," said Stefano Dominella, president of Alta Roma, the body that organizes the couture shows. The three winners, out of the 300 competitors judged by an international jury, will receive $50,000 that will help fund their collections, to be shown during Milan Fashion Week. The winners will also be granted a photo shoot published in Vogue Italia. One of the winners will be able to work at Aeffe, the manufacturing company owned by Ferretti and her brother Massimo, which produces collections for Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier and Narciso Rodriguez."Alta Roma is not only about couture — we've made it a priority to promote new designers," said Dominella, also at the press conference. Over the past three years, Dominella has been trying to internationalize and rejuvenate the shows at a time when many question their relevance. In previous editions, Dominella invited students from the Fashion Institute of Technology, London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and Antwerp's Fashion Institute to show their collections in Rome. This time around, Dominella was clearly gleeful about securing Ferretti. "I've been trying to lure her to Rome for the past three years," he said.

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