GETTING FRESH
AS THE MILAN SHOWS GOT INTO FULL SWING, SEVERAL HOUSES SHOWED COLLECTIONS WITH A NEW LOOK: MARC AUDIBET MADE SALVATORE FERRAGAMO JUST RIGHT FOR SOCIAL LADIES, WHILE ALBERTA FERRETTI’S PHILOSOPHY SCHOOLGIRLS JOINED THE WORKFORCE, AND THE TEAM AT MILA SCHON PROVIDED A STRONG MIX OF TOUGH AND SEXY.

Salvatore Ferragamo: The very name Ferragamo conjures up notions of elegance and chic — just imagine a socialite boarding a jet, off to some exotic destination, crocodile bags packed with double-faced cashmere and all. For fall, Marc Audibet is finally on his way to pleasing that very woman. In his two previous collections for Ferragamo, he flirted with everything from the scary to the sublime, but this time around, he tamed those ideas, evolving them into a state of quiet elegance.
His evolution here began with a twist, literally, as tops criss-crossed the body and were tucked under suits; voluminous bathrobe-style coats were wrapped and belted, and jersey dresses gathered on the body to fall in a sexy drape. Audibet has also loosened up his silhouettes dramatically for fall, with boxier sheared fur jackets or oversized, belted velvet ones shown with fluid pants. There were delicate chiffon tops with bell sleeves flapping, too. But when it came to evening, he stumbled with a parade of draped jersey and giant-floral dresses, some with sequined hems and extra-long sleeves that bordered on the garish.

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti: It’s serious business at Philosophy. Those cutesy schoolgirls of last season have grown up for fall, and are about to make their career moves. No, Ferretti didn’t put them in power suits, but in everything they’ll need for the traditional workplace — lots of pinstripes, gray flannel and navy. Of course, this collection always has a bit of a twist, and this season Ferretti played with wrinkled wool felts for blazers, peacoats, slim pants and minis that were sporty enough for casual Fridays. But, fortunately, she didn’t exactly abandon everything sweet. There were some Liberty floral tops and dresses as well as a classic coat worn over a striped skirt. And this designer, who is a whiz with chiffon, used it with a sure hand in a great group of gray dresses, sometimes paired with sweaters. As always, her softer side won out.

Mila Schon: Tough and sexy is the best formula — at least by this team’s estimation. For fall, the designers behind Mila Schon showed an aggressive mix of all styles tight, sleek and dramatic including a packet of pared-down coatdresses, vampish numbers in draped jersey and waxy leathers polished to a high shine. The toughest of hues, black, dominated from the first look to the last. Besides making a statement for the strong and the severe, it served to highlight the collection’s deliberate architecture. But as everybody knows, there’s more than one way to get from A to B. The Schon team also took the diagonal route, sending out fur jackets and coats with slanted stripes, a similarly banded leather motorcycle jacket and diagonally beaded chiffon dresses that ran with the grain, not against it.