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Ultra-colorful looks ruled at Alberta Ferretti…Consuelo Castiglione’s Marni collection had an upbeat attitude…Alessandro Dell’Acqua was inspired by vintage corsetry for La Perla…and Rifat Ozbek made a promising comeback at Pollini.

Alberta Ferretti: It’s not something that comes naturally to every designer, but Alberta Ferretti has deep reserves of color confidence. For spring, her choices were downright fearless — rich poppy red, dusty lavender and deep teal. Zing! She paired a ruby red silk top with a stiff violet skirt. She sent out a yolk yellow party dress you could spot from two blocks away. Then, in a geometric frenzy, Ferretti spliced together an intricate dress from pieces in every hue she could lay her hands on.

Eccentric touches gave it all an air of adventuresome bohemianism, with embroidered details, a smattering of sparkles and droopy chiffon flowers lending the simplest looks a little oomph. And the best of the bunch looked luxe, too.

Evening is usually Ferretti’s forte. This time around, however, something got lost in translation. While some thick dresses were cut like doilies, made to peel away and reveal the contrasting underlayers, others were burdened from beneath with stiff black skirts. With all their potential beauty, these gowns begged — oh, pretty please — to be set free.

Marni: It seems as if there’s plenty to be optimistic about chez Marni, where during the past 11 years, Consuelo Castiglione has turned her vision of fashion’s pretty bohemian into a marketable and highly recognizable brand. Her tried and true Marni-isms — the retro prints, bracelet-sleeved jackets and girly party dresses — have gone global. Marni’s not a moment, it’s a mainstay. And while at one time, Castiglione tinkered with its proportions, its mood, even that unsinkable feel-good vibe, this time she sent out a quintessentially Marni collection. Why fight it?

Spring’s sunny attitude meant Fifties-style car coats, dandyish cropped pants and stiff A-line skirts that came all tied together with a jeweled ribbon belt. Castiglione mixed and matched plaids, worked the stripes, decorated her signature cropped jackets with tiny pouch pockets and threw in splashy tiki prints for good measure. When things got too cute for comfort, with stiff cotton dresses and skirts that rumpled and bulged, carefree turned to careless and lacked the polish of last season’s pitch-perfect approach. After all, a heavy burlap ballgown decorated with appliquéd birds isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, however, the rest of Castiglione’s evening looks, silk gowns in powdery iridescent colors, took things in a graceful new direction.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

La Perla: For spring, La Perla’s ready-to-wear designer, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, was inspired by vintage corsetry. This is no big surprise, since this house was built on lingerie. Working in a primarily pink-and-black palette, Dell’Acqua channeled Thirties glamour trimmed up with just a soupçon of Rochas. A sharp, cropped bracelet-sleeved jacket topped a black silk eyelet trumpet skirt, while a pink suit was bubblegum sweet. Black lace cutaway halter dresses and a pink-and-black bustier dress were just right for any girl coveting a little retro Hollywood style, while ivory textured jackets and embroidered skinny jeans are sure to appeal to any modern-minded gal. All-in-all, the collection was tight, save for a couple of odd white dresses covered in mini metal discs that closed the show.

Pollini: It’s nice to know that personality still counts for something. Well-wishers packed the Pollini show on Monday afternoon to support Rifat Ozbek, who designed his debut collection for the house last season after a three-year hiatus from fashion. After all, everybody loves a comeback. Ozbek, known for his global vision, seems to have picked up right about where he left off, drawing inspiration from a longitude and latitude far, far away — a Tunisian-esque, Moroccan-y, India-ish kind of place. Take exit number 10, for example, a “jungly ikat print kumari dress with chamar fringing,” according to his show notes.

Sometimes things didn’t quite click, as with pieces decorated with a tatty, meandering drizzle of sequins. But the Friends of Rifat will find plenty to like about the new collection once it’s broken down on the rack. Some of his best looks were offhand and elegant, including a small cardigan and tiered paisley cha-cha skirt combo and evening looks that paired gold sequined tops with graceful iridescent blue skirts — the kind of clothes that will keep Ozbek’s audience coming back for more.

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