By  on May 15, 2007

NEW YORK — Alberta Ferretti is having a real New York moment.

In town for last week's Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the designer has been using the visit to strengthen her company's ties to Gotham. Less than 24 hours after the party, she was scouring the city for potential locations for the first full-line Alberta Ferretti store here. The scouting trip called for uptown and downtown stops, including the West Village and the Meatpacking District. There are Alberta Ferretti stores in Milan, Rome, Capri, Paris and London, and the company has set its sights on Manhattan, with Los Angeles to follow. The designer, who already has a Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti store on West Broadway, said she hasn't zeroed in on one neighborhood. Once the New York Alberta Ferretti store is opened, it will have the brand's more refined retail concept, which launched in Milan in November.

During an interview last week in the town house of Aeffe, her parent company, Ferretti talked about her current Manhattan attraction. "Most of all I like the contemporaneousness of being in New York, the vivacity of the people in these times gives New York a rhythm unlike any other city. There's really a mythic factor and more dynamism in New York. It's almost as though you are looking at the future, but it's happening today. In Europe, it's different because there are older cultures. Here, there is less tradition."

In what some might consider to be a nontraditional move, the designer is introducing Alberta Ferretti Girls at next month's Pitti Bimbo show in Florence.

In typical Ferretti fashion, she has found a garden within a fortress to show the 90-piece collection. Geared for girls between the ages of four and 12, the jumpers, dresses and other pieces

are being manufactured by children's wear maker Grant, which already has labels such as Moschino Bambino in its design portfolio. Grant and its newest

licensee have a five-year deal.

"We're courting them from

a very young age," Ferretti said, laughing. In truth, she couldn't resist the girlishness that

designing a children's collection

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