Isabel Marant | Developed Sophistication

Isabel

Isabel Marant, Born in 1967 in Paris to a German mother and French father, Isabel starts sewing at the age of 15 reworking old army jackets and remnants into a more bohemian wardrobe.

She takes up design studies at Studio Berçot fashion school in 1985 and creates four years later a small collection of outsize jewelry bearing her own name. She launches a line of jersey and knitwear in 1990, named “Twen”.

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Isabel establishes her own brand in 1994, setting up a studio in the Marais neighborhood in Paris. Her first show is held a year later in the debris-strewn courtyard of a squat, with her friends modeling.

She opens her first store in 1998, in a former artist’s studio in the Bastille district.

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Eager to make her brand evolve, she launches the more casual and affordable “Isabel Marant Étoile” line in 1999.

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Isabel opens her first stateside boutique in 2010 in New York Soho and expands her network of boutiques abroad since. She sets up her new head office at Place des Victoires in the heart of Paris in 2012.

 

My brand developed little by little without any sophistication nor excess. My choice was to build it up step by step in order to keep complete freedom and integrity in the way I worked!  Her clothing has been described as a “combination of androgynous chic and bohemian nonchalance.” Since its inception, the brand has increased 30% in sales each year

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Helmut Lang |

Helmut Lang (born March 10, 1956 in Vienna is an Austrian artist who lives and works in New York and on Long Island.

When he was five months old Lang’s parents divorced and sent him to live with his maternal grandparents in Ramsau am Dachstein in the Austrian Alps. When he was ten his father remarried and brought Lang back to Vienna to live with him and his wife. Lang moved out of his father’s house at the age of eighteen, and began to teach himself clothing design. A few years later he opened a made-to-measure shop in Vienna.  In 1984 he closed the shop and two years later showed his first runway collection in Paris at Centre Georges Pompidou.  In 1997 he moved to New York.

Lang used unconventional materials such as rubber, feathers and metallic fabrics and redefined the silhouette of the 1990s and early 2000s. He broke away from the runway show-as-spectacle in the height of the 1980s opulence and was the first to ever stream his collection online. As one of the most important designers of our times, his work left an undeniable imprint on contemporary culture and his influence continues to reverberate among the fashion community today.

Lang’s seamless relationship with art has included collaborations with artists Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois.  His recent works explore abstract sculptural forms and physical arrangements and space beyond the limitations of the human body. Lang had his first solo art exhibition ALLES GLEICH SCHWER at the Kestnergesllschaft in Hanover in 2008.

Lang has published excerpts from his ongoing art projects Long Island Diaries  and The Selective Memory Series  in a number of publications, such as BUTT Magazine, Fannzine 137 , Visionaire and most recently The Travel Almanac.

In 1999, Lang sold a 51% stake in his company to the Prada Group, with Prada running distribution and manufacturing and Lang controlling design and advertising. Afterwards, Prada developed a line of Helmut Lang accessories such as shoes, belts and bags, and opened Helmut Lang stores in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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Helmut Lang is a cult figure and, despite leaving fashion in 2005, his legacy lives on. Everything he made carried his distinct fingerprint – from his jeans to his perfumes. He was hyper-attentive to detail and Viennese through and through – he was born there in 1956.

Having shown on the Paris catwalk once, Helmut Lang returned to Vienna until 1997, when he finally moved to New York. Austerity and cerebral couture have characterised his work throughout. He was one of the first designers to embrace the internet and, in 1998, broadcast his new show on it.

• Lang only decided to move into fashion after he failed to find the perfect jacket and T-shirt in the shops and was forced to make his own
• Prada bought a 49 per cent stake in the Helmut Lang business in 1999. Unhappy without 100 per cent creative control, Lang walked out five years later
• Since then the brand has carried on without him. In 2006, Prada sold it to link Theory Holdings Co, which hired design duo Michael and Nicole Colovos to explore Lang’s signature high-tech fabrics and modernist looks and colours – but, said Theory president Andrew Rosen at the time: “The door is always open for Lang if he chose to return”

In August 2008 an exhibition of his art goes on show at Kestnergesellshaft in Hannover, Germany.

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Peter Pilotto | PRINTMASTERS

Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos comprise the dynamic design team behind Pilotto’s successful namesake label. Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos are the designers behind the PETER PILOTTO label. Pilotto is half-Austrian, half-Italian and De Vos is half-Belgian, half-Peruvian. They met whilst studying at Antwerp’s prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the year 2000. The partners raised a minority-stake investment from London-based investment firm MH Luxe and Megha Mittal, chairman and managing director of German luxury brand Escada in 2015. The investment is Peter Pilotto’s first injection of external funding, previously the eight-year-old business has been self-financed and wholly owned by designers. Industry sources estimate the business turns over about $15 million to $20 million per year.

Launched in 2007, the duo’s first collection of digital printed designs proved an instant hit, winning the designers instant acclaim and securing their first buyers. The British based brand is now sold in over 49 countries and is stocked by luxury retailers such as Net a Porter , Dover Street Market , Saks Fifth Avenue and Liberty.

Initially founded by Pilotto, De Vos joined the label in its fledging years. After earning start-up support and studio space from the Centre for Fashion Enterprise in London, Peter Pilotto was scouted for the Vauxhall Fashion Scout showcase, receiving much needed exposure. Now operating from their own studio in East London, the duo, who first met whilst studying at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, hold a number of industry accolades and have been awarded NewGen sponsorship by the British Fashion Council as well being named as winners of the Swarovski Emerging Talent award in 2010 and winners of the Fashion Forward prize in 2011 and most recently were awarded the BFC/VOGUE fashion fund.

Pilotto and DeVos have undertaken a number of collaborations with brands such as Target, Kipling, Lisa Marie Fernandez and most recently with Nicholas Kirkwood on a range of printed shoes since their AW2012 collection. In 2012, the duo were also invited to be guest designers at the prestigious Pitti W showcase in Florence.

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Both Pilotto and DeVos hold dual nationalities, being Austrain/Italian and Belgian/Peruvian respectively.

One of the ideas, Pilotto and De Vos say, was a certain seasonless quality – hence the mash-up of spring and winter clothes into a single collection. “Seasons… they don’t feel as relevant any more,” they commented over summer, their 2015 Resort collection already clustered around them as proof of that. And, of course, it sells globally – to hemispheres where summer and winter are diametrically opposed. Yet Pilotto and De Vos take it in their stride, and simply push themselves to make collections that will appeal across the board. “PETER PILOTTO” London Fashion Week Fall Winter 2014 2015 by Fashion Channel


Peter Pilotto’s vision of womenswear embraces both new and classic perspectives on elegance. Otherworldly prints combine with soft sculptural shapes to form the handwriting of the design duo, something which evolves and is explored each season as opposed to being reactionary.
Pilotto is focused toward textiles and print whereas De Vos concentrates more on silhouette and drape. However, the duo work beyond their individual perimeters to create something new, their process being very organic and beyond an integration of the two fields.

http://www.peterpilotto.com/

 

Excerpts taken from:

BOF London| Independent| Wikipedia

 

Narcisco Rodriguez |SimplyComplex

Narciso Rodriguez (Spanish pronunciation: [narˈziso roˈðɾiɣes]; born January 27, 1961) is an American fashion designer.

Rodriguez was raised in Newark, New Jersey. He received his formal education at Parson’s School of Design in New York. Following freelance work in New York’s garment industry, he joined Anne Klein under Donna Karan. Later, he moved to Calvin Klein where he worked on the Women’s Collection.

In 1995, Rodriguez became Design Director of TSE where he presented the first ready to wear collections for men and women in New York. Simultaneously, Rodriguez was appointed Design Director of Cerruti in Paris. In October 1997, the first women’s ready to wear collection under the Narciso Rodriguez label, in partnership with Italian manufacturer AEFFE, was presented in Milan for the Spring/Summer 1998 season. Rodriguez was awarded “Best New Designer” at the Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards in New York and the “Perry Ellis Award” for best new designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The same year, Loewe appointed Rodriguez as Design Director of the women’s ready to wear collection, a position he held until 2001.

One of the foremost American designers during the last two decades, Narciso Rodriguez plays a singular role in global fashion. As Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue has said, “No one but Narciso has ever made a simple line look more stunning.”

In 1996, Rodriguez received international acclaim when he designed the bias-cut sheath wedding dress that his close friend Carolyn Bessette wore when she married John Kennedy, Jr.

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In collaboration with Beauté Prestige International, Rodriguez created his first fragrance, for her, in 2003, which received the British FiFi Award for Best New Fragrance that year and the Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Noveau Niche award in 2004.   

On November 4, 2008, Narciso Rodriguez became part of a monumental event in American history. To celebrate her husband Barack Obama’s triumphant victory as the first African American president of The United States, Michelle Obama chose to wear a dress from the designer’s Spring 2009 Collection. “It was both emotional and exhilarating,” Rodriguez said. “To be part of this memorable moment in history was a great honor.”

The arts have figured prominently in Narciso Rodriguez’s life and work. The designer has collaborated in several films, among them, The Family Stone in 2005 and the 2008 remake of The Women. Rodriguez has maintained longstanding personal relationships with many actresses, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Julianna Margulies and Rachel Weisz. Rodriguez established a relationship with internationally celebrated choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, founder/director of Morphoses; he designed costumes for Morphoses’ American and British premieres in 2008. The designer continued his involvement in the world of dance in a collaboration with well-known choreographer Jonah Bokaer in 2010, in a series of performances curated by Cecilia Dean and writer David Coleman.

Rodriguez also collaborated with artist Cindy Sherman on a project for American Vogue. The designer’s work has been featured in several museum exhibitions including MoCA’s “Skin and Bones” in LA and Cooper Hewitt’s Design Triennial Exhibition, both in 2006. In 2010, there was a comprehensive retrospective of Rodriguez’s work in San Juan, Puerto Rico to benefit the nonprofit organization Alas a la Mujer, a group to support women’s education. The designer was also featured in “American Beauty: Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion” at the Museum at FIT. In 2010, Sundance presented The Day Before, a behind-the-scenes look at the designer and his atelier, directed by Loic Prigent, for his series on the 24 hours leading up to a fashion show.

Narciso Rodriguez’s men’s fragrance, for him, was launched in 2007 and received the 2008 Grand Prix du Parfum Award for Best Masculine Fragrance and Best Design. essence, Rodriguez’s third fragrance was launched in 2009. In less than a decade, the for her collection, essence and for him collection have become innovative classics and modern icons in the fragrance industry.

Today, Narciso Rodriguez’s fashion house is based in New York City where he shows his women’s ready-to-wear collections.

https://www.narcisorodriguez.com/

MARY-KATRANTZOU | Inherited INNOVATION

Mary Katrantzou (born in 1983 in Athens) is a fashion designer who currently lives and works in London, born in Athens, Greece to an interior design mother and a father who trained in Textile Engineering.  Mary Katrantzou has quickly made her presence known in the fashion world with her hyper-real and paradisiacal prints – which started out life as oversized jewelry designs on simple shifts for her Central Saint Martins MA collection in 2008. While she has courted attention from the outset, it was her spring/summer 2011 interiors collection, complete with lampshade skirts, that really put her on the fashion map and made hers one of the must-see labels of London Fashion Week from then on. Since then, there has been no looking back and the designer continues to go from strength to strength – and has won a host of awards along the way.

She moved to the United States in 2003 in order to attend Rhode Island School of Design to study architecture. She then transferred to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where she completed both her Bachelorand Master’s degree. During her studies, she managed to sell some of her prints to Bill Blass. Graduating from her Bachelor course in 2005, Katrantzou switched her focus from prints for interiors to fashion prints. Whilst collaborating with Sophia Kokosalaki in 2006, Katrantzou managed to build up a portfolio for the Central Saint Martins Master Fashion Textiles course. In 2008, she opened the Saint Martins graduating show. Her collection was nominated for the Harrods and the L‘Oreal Professional Award. Supported by a Newgen (talent identification scheme created by the British Fashion Council in 1993) sponsorship for six full seasons (S/S 2009 – A/W 2011), her first Prêt-à-porter collection was shown at the autumn/winter London Fashion Week in 2008. Katrantzou’s graduating show in 2008 mapped out her signature style. It was themed around trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery featured on jersey-bonded dresses. these pieces created the illusion of wearing giant neckpieces that would be too heavy in reality. She also designed jewellery made out of wood and metal that were exact replicas of the prints. Mary Katrantzou’s first ready-to-wear collection debuted at London fashion week in Spring/Summer 2009, with the support of the BFC and the New Gen scheme. Despite a small collection of nine dresses, Katrantzou picked up 15 stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. The designer achieved show status the following season, in Autumn/Winter 2009.

Her collections are now sold worldwide in over 200 fashion shops, including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Colette, 10 Corso Como, Joyce, Luisa via roma, Mytheresa, Stylebop, Opening Ceremony and Net a Porter, and in 47 countries. A collection for Topshop launched for London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2010 and was available in shops in February 2011 and sold out within the first few days of its release. Katrantzou‘s work has been featured in publications including Vogue, Dazed & Confused, and Grazia. In 2010, she was awarded the Swiss Textiles award, succeeding Alexander Wang. She is one of the designers of Città dell’arte Fashion.Hannah Holman is one of the better known models who recently walked in one of Katrantzou‘s shows.

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November 2011 Mary was awarded the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent: womenswear and in February 2012 was awarded Young Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards. February 2012 saw the release of her collaboration with Longchamp creating a capsule collection of their signature bags and totes. To promote them Vogue Japan gave away a plastic card case with Katrantzou’s prints with their May issue. Three prints featured in this collaboration over several different shapes and sizes.

March 2013 the Mary Katrantzou’s and Current/Elliott’s collaboration launched on my-wardrobe.com. The collection included jeans, dresses, shorts and tops which were inspired by Katrantzou’s spring/summer2013 collection, that depicted postage stamps and bank notes. “In our last show, a critic mentioned denim and what it might look like with our prints,” Katrantzou explained to us. “We thought that it could be a great challenge to work with denim for the first time. I really like what Current/Elliott does, so I approached Serge with an idea for a collaboration.”

In April 2014 Mary announced she would be working with famous high street brand Adidas ‘for the foreseeable future’. The collaboration will be on both clothing and footwear.

 

Mary has considered plus-size versions of her printed designs. “I buy online-I think as a bigger size, you feel more comfortable trying things on at home,” she told Net-a-Porter.com. Speaking of her interiors collection which features prints of home wares, she describes how you have to adapt designs for bigger sizes. “We just added more information. So on a size 8, you get the sofa, the mantelpiece and the flower, whereas on a size 14 you get the sofa, the mantelpiece, the bush and the room next door,” Katrantzou said she never planned to launch her own label, “I think your ambitions change when you work alongside people who are determined to launch their own labels,” she told us. “They were planning shows and fully blown businesses; applying for NEWGEN sponsorship etc- so I suppose I just thought, ‘why not me too?'”

BALLY | Building Brands Breaking the Mold

Carl Franz Bally

Born October 24, 1821, founded the Bally Shoe company in 1851.

Carl Franz Bally was the 11th of 14 children of Peter Bally (1783–1849) and Anna Maria Herzog. His grandfather, Franz Ulrich Bohli (1748–1810) immigrated as a young man from Vorarlberg in west part of Austriato Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn in Switzerland, working as a mason for a manufacturer of silk ribbons. Later, he established his own silk ribbon manufacture in that town, relying mostly on work outsourced to local weavers. His sons Peter and Niklaus continued and enlarged the firm producing also suspenders and elastic fabrics and building an extensive second facility in Säckingen, (Germany). Carl Franz, one of the ten sons of Peter, entered the business at age 17 concentrating on the newest products. During a business trip to Paris he visited a shoe manufacturing plant and began to think about producing shoes, founding his own small facility in 1851. After initial difficulties the business began to flourish and in the early 1870s he established sales organizations in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo, (Uruguay) and Paris, (France).

By 1880 Bally had transformed Schönenwerd from a sleepy farm village to an industrial center offering employment to hundreds of workers from the town and surrounding towns in what developed into one of the world’s leading shoe manufacturing enterprises. Leather goods are the heart and have lead BALLY’s Company.

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Carl Franz was a progressive liberal, pushing forward many new ideas in the town, now taken for granted. He and his wife opened a special education school for girls, a kindergarten, an old-age home and a public swimming facility at the bordering Aare river. He built homes for workers and converted a flood region of the Aare in town into a luscious, publicly accessible park. He fought battles to break the long established bond between school education and religion (Schönenwerd is the location of a small monastery originally built around 600 AD) and supported the establishment of improved schooling facilities for grade schools and a regional middle school. To fill the need for workers he opened small manufacturing facilities in several towns in the surrounding region. He also served as a lawmaker in various local and federal positions. Carl Franz and his wife Cecile Rychner (1823–1893) had two sons, Eduard and Arthur, who continued their father’s business under the name C. F. Bally Söhne. Around the turn of the century, the firm employed some 3200 workers and produced over two million pairs of shoes a year. Carl Franz Bally died in Basel in 1899.

The Bally company was founded  in the basement of their family home in Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland and created through the passion and vision of pioneer Carl Franz Bally. His original family business was the manufacture of elastic ribbon but a journey to Paris and a gift of love forever changed Bally’s destiny.

During a business trip to Paris in 1849, Carl Franz wanted to buy his wife some lace-up booties – the popular shoe of the day. Unable to recall her exact size, he decided to buy twelve pairs in a range of sizes, knowing that one would certainly fit. Upon visiting the Parisian factory where the booties were made, he noticed that each shoe featured buttons with elastic closures similar to the kind his family produced in Switzerland. Inspired by the possibility of creating more jobs and improving the lives of local residents, he decided to expand his business into shoe production. Together with his brother Fritz, Carl Franz employed designers to assist and together, they began producing shoes made entirely by hand in the cellar of his Schönenwerd home.

The Bally Company was established in Schönenwerd in 1851 and three years later, the first factory located in the village centre was built. In 1854, Fritz Bally retired. By the 1870s, Bally was recognised as a footwear industry leader. The company’s name changed to CF Bally, and then to CF Bally & Sons when the brand’s founding pioneer handed the company reins to his sons in 1892. Carl Franz died in 1899 but undeniably passed on his pioneering spirit to his sons.

Bally grew internationally and opened stores in Geneva and Montevideo (Uruguay) in 1870, followed by Buenos Aires (1873), Paris (1879) and London (1882). In the 1880s, Bally was also one of the very first European luxury goods brands to open in post-reform and opening China. By now the brand had also extended its offering to include clothing, handbags and leather goods for both men and women (1976), and in 1990 would become truly global, opening in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey.

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Bally is currently under the leadership of CEO Frédéric de Narp (November,2013), with Pablo Coppola as Design Director (February, 2014) and parent company JAB Holdings at the helm. Anne-Marie Gaultier has also joined the brand as Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications. She started in April 2014.

BALLY companies continue to strive for what it was originally known for when first started in the basement of C.F. Bally’s home in 1851, high quality and luxury. More than 200 Bally stores around the world, as well as the opportunity to purchase Bally products on-line, gives consumers the products and the quality that C.F. Bally envisioned.

 

Some photo are Copyright © 2013 infinitas. s

ALBERTA FERRETTI |Royalty Reigns…

Alberta Ferretti, born in 1950 was known as the ‘uncrowned queen’ of the Italian fashion industry before she became a world famous fashion designer. It all started off when she opened her own boutique, Jolly at a tender age of eighteen in 1968 alongside her competitors who are today’s fashion moguls like Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani. With the art of dressmaking running in her genes, Ferretti soon became a force to be reckoned with. Her exquisite goddess gowns made with delicate chiffon fabrics and intricate designs soon brought her talent into the limelight when her work was spotted by an agent who motivated her to start her own line of outfits.

1974 was Ferretti’s time to shine when her first signature line was launched under her own name, Alberta Ferretti which was praised to the skies. Alberta Ferretti soon became a renowned fashion designer and it wasn’t long before she became the owner of her own company in 1980 called Aeffe in partnership with her brother Massimo Ferretti. Today Aeffe has made its mark in the industry, producing and distributing designs for famous fashion houses like Moschino, Pollini and Jean Paul Gaultier. The year 1981 was when she made her debut on the Milan fashion runway and launched her second line called Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti after three years. It was 1985; her daytime and evening apparel had become popular among youngsters due to its comfortable, fit and chic look.

In 1989, Ferretti was named the first female founding member of an Italian bank named Cassa di Risparmio di Rimini which was yet another feather in her cap. But that’s not all. She was also named the best female entrepreneur in Emilia Romagna. In the fall of 1996, Alberta decided to expand her business and opened up a showroom in New York. However, the year 1998 came with a lot of surprises. She received an award, Cavalieri Del Lavoro by the Italian President; an honor only reserved for those who have maintained considerable socioeconomic influence in the country. Around spring in the same year, she opened up another store at Soho, New York. It was September when Ferretti’s outfit donned by Gretchen Mol made it to Vanity Fair’s cover and a book was published by Samuel Mazza the following month unveiling details about Alberta’s work throughout the years.

In the spring of `99, Alberta broadened her horizons by targeting the middle class masses with her relatively low priced fashion line called Alberta Ferretti Tech which turned out to be a favorable move for her. Years later in 2007, Ferretti experimented with children’s clothing and launched her line of outfits for little girls at Pitti Bimbo. The following year, her decades worth of experience landed her a spot on the famous television show Project Runway as a judge and she opened a shop at Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. In 2009, the designer launched her own fragrance endorsed by supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

Born in Cattolica, Italy, c. 1950; married, c. 1967 (divorced); married Giuseppe Campanella (an anesthesiologist); children: sons Simone, Giacomo (first marriage).
Opened boutique in Cattolica, Italy, called “Jolly,” c. 1968; designed first collection, c. 1973; co–founder of Aeffe (a clothing manufacturer and distributor), 1976; began showing seasonal collections on runways of Milan, Italy, 1981; launched Ferretti Jeans Philosophy, 1989, renamed Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, 1994; renovated a 13th–century castle into the Palazzo Viviani hotel, Montegridolfo, Italy, 1994; signed licensing deal with Proctor & Gamble for a fragrance line, 2000. Named best female entrepreneur in the state of Emilia Romagna, Italy, 1991.
Designer Alberta Ferretti built a thriving fashion empire from a small boutique she opened in a seaside Italian village in the late 1960s. 

A savvy entrepreneur best known for her translucent, gossamer dresses, Ferretti also heads a manufacturing company that makes and distributes the lines of designers Narciso Rodriguez and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others. Her business acumen is combined with a characteristically Italian respect for la dolce vita, or “the good life”: she renovated a medieval village near her hometown, complete with castle/luxury hotel, and she prefers to spend time in both places rather than Milan. In a 2001 Times of London feature titled “Italy’s Quiet Achiever,” Lisa Armstrong described Ferretti as “a formidable industrialist,” and representative of a country with “a sufficiently developed aesthetic sensibility to be able to accept captains of industry who waft around in floaty wisps of chiffon.” Ferretti did not view herself as paradoxical in the least, she told Armstrong. “I don’t see any reason why you can’t look delicate and act tough.” Ferretti grew up in Cattolica, Italy, in the 1950s and ’60s. This seaside town lies on the Adriatic Sea near Rimini, in the state of Emilia Romagna. Her mother owned a dressmaking atelier in town, and Ferretti was cutting fabric for it by the time she was 12. At age 17, she left school and married not long afterward. With a small loan from her parents, she opened her own clothing store in Cattolica, calling it “Jolly.” It had a workshop upstairs as well as living quarters, and within a few years she had two little boys and a thriving business to look after. “I could hold it all together only by giving up everything that was to do with having time to myself,” she recalled in the interview with Armstrong for the Times.By the early 1970s, Jolly was selling the work of then–unknown Italian designers like Mariuccia Mandelli, Giorgio Armani, and Gianni Versace, and Ferretti had started to run up some of her own design ideas as well for sale there. A sales representative visited her store one day, liked the frocks, and suggested she sell them elsewhere. Thus Ferretti’s own line took shape around 1973, and within a short time proved such a hit with Italian women that she had to hire more seamstresses and move them into a 400–square–foot shed. From her perspective, Ferretti realized how problematic it could prove to have a seasonal collection sewn perfectly and then delivered on time, and so she began contracting her workshop to take in the work of other designers. Her business sense coincided with a boom in Italian fashion in the mid–1970s, when Milan’s biannual “fashion weeks” began attracting an international crowd of buyers and journalists and Italian fashion became synonymous with well made and modern. Ferretti formally launched her second company in 1976, calling it “Aeffe” after the Italian pronunciation of her initials, and asked her younger brother Massimo to run it. By 1980 they had landed their first major contract, signing with an up–and–coming Italian designer, Enrico Coveri.

Ferretti began showing her own line in Milan in 1981, a debut she described to Interview ‘s Ingrid Sischy as “an experience which was very, very frightening for me.” Her designs were both feminine and modern, made from the most delicate of fabrics like chiffon, gazar, or georgette. They caught on with style–conscious women on both sides of the Atlantic. By the mid–1990s, Ferretti’s dresses were sold at upscale American retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Writing in the Times, Armstrong described Ferretti’s signature style as “a kind of Valentino look for a younger, slightly more bohemian woman.” Reviewing her Spring 2002 line, a writer for WWD listed the variations on the diaphanous—”bias–cut and pleated, ruched and side–draped, Empire–waisted and wrapped obi–style”—that had become the signature Ferretti frock. Her profile was boosted by a celebrity clientele that included Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Andie MacDowell; for the 2000 Academy Awards ceremony, Uma Thurman appeared in a red Alberta Ferretti number that won rave reviews. Ferretti summed up her design ethos in a talk with Tamsin Blanchard of London’s Independent newspaper. “My clothes are not trendy at all costs,” she declared. “They are an extension of a woman’s personality, not for the woman who identifies with a Seventies or a Forties look.”

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A jeans line, Ferretti Jeans Philosophy, was launched in 1989, but by 1994 had morphed into a pret–a–porter division called Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti. For this the designer produced a more whimsical look. “The line allows me to let my creativity run wild,” she told WWD journalist Samantha Conti. “Because the prices are contained and well below my top line, I feel much more free in designing.” She also began opening boutiques—both Alberta Ferretti and Philosophy brands—in some of the world’s best–dressed cities, from Milan and London to Tokyo and New York. Aeffe operations continued to expand, and by the late 1990s its state–of–the–art computerized factory near Cattolica was producing the lines of Narciso Rodriguez, Jean–Paul Gaultier, Rifat Ozbek, and Moschino. Ferretti also takes an occasional assignment for film, such as the outfit worn by Madonna in one crucial scene of the 2002 film Swept Away. “It was a caftan, and she had to keep falling off a yacht into the water,” Ferretti told WWD. “So of course that meant a lot of caftans.”

Ferretti keeps a seaside villa in Cattolica, and a winter place a few miles inland in San Giovanni in Marignano, where her Aeffe headquarters are located. One of her adult sons, Simone, works as a computer programmer for her company; his younger brother Giacomo raises mussels. After her first marriage ended, Ferretti wed anesthesiologist and acupuncturist Giuseppe Campanella. In the mid–1990s, she bought and renovated an entire hillside town, not far from Cattolica, called Montegridolfo. With structures dating back to the 1200s, the medieval town was in ruins, but the castle was turned into a four–star hotel, the Palazzo Viviani.

Ferretti’s success, she notes, has but one drawback: she misses the daily interaction with clients that came from running a single store. “For me it’s very important not to lose perspective when you become famous,” she told Guardian writer Susannah Frankel. “I work all day. I’m a real woman. I cater for different needs. I’m not tall and I’m a bit, shall we say, rounded. I understand such problems and always design clothes that I myself would like to wear.”

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Credit To:

Fashion Blog

Guardian (London, England), April 5, 1997, p. 42.

Independent (London, England), April 13, 1997, p. 46.

InStyle, April 1998, p. 86.

Interview, October 1998.

People, January 26, 1998, p. 81.

Times (London, England), July 23, 2001, p. 13.

WWD, February 22, 1993, p. ID12; March 9, 1995, p. 12; January 30, 1996, p. 16; September 17, 1997, p. 13; October 27, 2000, p. 27; October 2, 2001, p. 6; March 25, 2002, p. 14; May 31, 2002, p. 13.

Carol Brennan – Refined-Culture