For the first time, Italian designer Alberta Ferretti will hold a runway show of her Limited Edition collection in Paris on July 3 during haute couture week. The event will be held at the brand’s luxury headquarters on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Ferretti introduced her demi-couture line of feminine and highly crafted gowns in 2011. The designer talks with WWD about the collection ahead of the show.
What does the Limited Edition collection represent for you in terms of style and creativity?
I believe that for a fashion designer, every collection is an important creative challenge. Applying this challenge to a special collection such as my Limited Edition allows me to free myself of the strict commercial rules dictated by the market, and allows me to follow my imagination unconditionally. This collection starts with fabric research and involves experiments with craftsmanship in developing the embroideries and details. This also applies to my ready-to-wear, but the Limited Edition provides the opportunity to completely free my imagination to create clothes for unique moments in the lives of unique women. Now that fashion is so globalized, I love to think of a woman who wears clothes that are not produced industrially, but that have a touch of uniqueness specifically conceived for an individual personality.
We often speak of the trickle-down effect from couture to other collections. Do you feel this influence on your signature line or do you keep the two very separate?
I’ve always thought that creativity needs to be continuously fed, and the Limited Edition is an important nourishment for my creativity. It’s not really a trickle-down effect on ready-to-wear, but rather an opportunity to always provide cues and ideas that inevitably fuel the next Limited Edition collection. But these are only ideas, not techniques or details. Inspiration is always a circular process, and often you get an idea as you are working on something. Conceiving a collection is an exercise of the imagination that I always like to keep active. I also like working on the Limited Edition because it often gives me the opportunity to be in direct contact with the women who choose the clothes. This allows me to sometimes make changes with the customer, almost in a made-to-measure way. I find this aspect an additional form of education to my work.
Why did you choose to show in Paris and at this moment?
One of the main reasons is that this Limited Edition collection really fits with our headquarters in Paris, a hôtel particulier that was the former residence of the Goldschmidt-Rothschild family. The inspiration for the collection did not come from this location, but it is very well contextualized in those salons. Obviously, I chose to present it on July 3 because Paris during the week of haute couture is even more brilliant than in the rest of the year and, even if the Limited Edition is not exactly couture, I find it is the ideal moment to present it.
How is the collection performing? Is it in line with your expectations?
The design and commercial feedback are strictly connected: The Limited Edition is well-liked from an aesthetic point of view and has great commercial success. Certainly in line with, if not beyond, my expectations.
What factors are impacting the collection in a positive or negative way?
There are many positive factors impacting a collection of special outfits. But the first and most important one is that women want uniqueness. Many women feel the need to underscore the special moments of their lives with special clothes, even if it’s only for a party, because a special dress can make a woman feel special. Particularly today, when homogenization conceals big parts of one’s personality, women who are aware of their value want to differentiate themselves. They want their clothes to be an expression of their own uniqueness.
What prospects or goals do you have for this line?
I am convinced I have to think of a further evolution and increasingly create clothes that have in them the value of being contemporary but at the same time timeless.
What are the main challenges to be faced?
The main challenge in fashion has always been to illustrate the life of the moment. The challenge of my Limited Edition is that of first capturing the moment, and then addressing the desire for beauty, uniqueness and exclusivity that contemporary society requires.
There is a lot of talk about see-now-buy-now collections. Do you think this could also influence the couture customer, making her more impatient, or on the contrary, stimulate a waiting effect that is even more important and exclusive?
I don’t think the see-now-buy-now [format] fits fashion collections in general. It’s a phenomenon generated by the digital diffusion of content, but can be realized only for a capsule collection, conceived precisely for immediate satisfaction. Fashion collections, whether ready-to-wear or Limited Edition, need time to be created. Often one works on a collection for a show until the last minute. How would it be possible to immediately produce clothes that must respond to the high-end creativity and quality the market requires?
Are you worried about the U.S. terror alert for potential attacks in Europe and in Paris in particular?
The general situation created by terrorism is always a concern. One must be vigilant in order to avoid tragedies such as those in Paris, Brussels or Orlando. But we must not surrender to fear, which is the main goal of terrorism. I believe our life should continue in accordance with the principles of our culture and our way of life.
Where do your most important Limited Edition customers come from?
Surely America, London and the Middle East are the countries where this collection is most requested. This is very useful because it helps me to understand the starting point to create these special clothes.