The sound track of Mother Gong and Daevid Allen’s dreamily poetic “I Am a Tree” set the mood for Alberta Ferretti’s collection, a study in mixes of differing patterns revealed the technical skills of her famed workrooms. The intriguing fabric developments included multidimensional brocades in organic patterns that suggested moss growing over tree bark or underwater algae, corals, and seaweeds, as well as mohair threaded with golden filament in shaded tones of earthy browns, woodland greens, and baked terra-cotta reds.
Boiled wool was used for shapely swing coats or bell-skirted dresses that might have inserted panels of glossy leather to provide shine against the rough matte texture of the woven cloth. These looks were often quirkily accessorized with high-heel sandals worn with wool socks, or ropes of giant tarnished-gold pearls draped close to the neck. Feathers were cleverly worked to suggest blossoms nestled into mossy green lace or—like ancient Inca ceremonial blankets—the tiny iridescent feathers were densely laid on tulle in radial patterns to create the effect of balletic costumes out of Black Swan. Sometimes they appeared to melt surreally into prints and weaves—or thickly reembroidered hand-knits—depicting bird life.
Although Ferretti has made airy, feminine dresses her signature, the diaphanous frocks in mixes of differing patterns of red and sage with white or tea-stained lace, however, strayed perilously into the territory marked so emphatically by Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.