Alberta Ferretti - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia

Italian designer

Born: Cattolica, Italy. Family: Two sons from an earlier marriage; companion, Giuseppe Campanella. Career: Opened own boutique at the age of 18, established the company Aeffe with her brother, Massimo Ferretti, opened Palazzo Viviani, a four-star hotel, 1994; signed fragrance deal with Proctor and Gamble, 2000. Address: Aeffe, Via delle Querce, 51, 47842 S. Giovanni In Marignano, Italy. Website: .




"Stepping Out: Ferretti at BG," in WWD, 17 September 1997.

Castro, Peter, "Italian Dressing" in People, 26 January 1998.

Sischy, Ingrid, "Ferretti-to-Wear," in Interview Magazine, October 1998.

Schiro, Anne-Marie, "In Italy, Alluring Ideas Are Blossoming," in the New York Times, 5 March 1999.

Lavin, Cheryl, "A Vision in White," in the Chicago Tribune, 16 May 1999.

Tien, Ellen, "For Brides Who Stroll a Sandy Aisle," in the New York Times, 4 June 2000.

"Whatever Gets You Through the Day and Night," in WWD, 10 October 2000.

"Ferretti Signs with P&G," in WWD, 27 October 2000.

Norwich, William, "The Latest Temptations of Uma," in the New York Times Magazine, Fall 2000.

"The Philosophy of Philosophy," available online at , 6 June 2001.

Alberta Ferretti, spring/summer 2002 ready-to-wear collection: chiffon dress. © AFP/CORBIS.
Alberta Ferretti, spring/summer 2002 ready-to-wear collection: chiffon dress.

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In the town of Montegridolfo, Italy, sits a 23-room castle 20 miles inland from the Adriatic Sea. It is here that designer Alberta Ferretti has tried her hand at the hotel business. She has turned this medieval structure into Palazzo Viviania, a modern four-star hotel that opened to the public in 1994. The castle exudes a medieval charm combined with a modern feel, the embodiment of which can also be found in Ferretti's clothing design. Soft, romantic allure, combined with clean, structured lines, impart a composed, subtly sexy feel to her work.

Growing up along the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the small hamlet of Cattolica, Italy, Ferretti spent her girlhood among a myriad of fabrics and clothing designs displayed throughout her mother's dress shop. Perhaps inspired by her mother's work, and certainly her surroundings, 18-year-old Ferretti dropped out of high school and opened her own boutique. Offering mainly other designers in the beginning, she went on to carry Versace, Krizia, and Armani clothing within a few years. The grand scale launch of her own design collection stemmed from an auspicious beginning. When a salesman entered Ferretti's boutique, he noticed some of her pieces hanging throughout the store. Commenting that the designs should be offered in more locations, he inadvertently started Ferretti down a more promising career path. By taking the sage advice of the salesman, the Ferretti name was officially launched into the design world.

Today, the apparel of Alberta Ferretti can be seen on several of Hollywood's comeliest personalities. Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Julia Roberts, and Andie MacDowell are all subscribers of Ferretti's whimsical yet sleekly contrived raiments. People (October 1998) reported actress Andie MacDowell as saying, "Alberta's clothes are feminine, soft and romantic, but at the same time chic and elegant." With such a winning combination, Ferretti has come a long way in a short time. No longer the youthful entrepreneur of a small boutique, Alberta, together with her brother, Massimo Ferretti, now own the design company Aeffe.

Catering to the diversity of women's tastes and trends, Aeffe produces and distributes designwear not only of the Ferretti name but others as well, including Rifat Ozbek, Narciso Rodriguez, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Cheryl Lavin of Fashion Magazine (16 May 1999) said of Ferretti, "The Alberta Ferretti dress, a slim sheath with folded pleats, separated by rows of tucking, is as stylized as a column at the Parthenon." Ferretti's trademark, the little dress, has as many possibilities as a blank sheet of paper. Seizing an opportunity, she has succeeded in capturing everything from a soft allure or subtle romanticism to a quietly arousing feel in a continuously impressive array of proffered dresses. She seizes a feminine, womanly appeal without being too girlish in design.

Of Ferretti, the 10 October 2000 issue of Women's Wear Daily stated, "Softly, ever so softly, that's Alberta Ferretti's motto for spring. She showed full skirts, boxy jackets and simple belted knits, all in china blue, tan and tangerine, and let the colors speak for themselves. The shapes brought a hint of Courréges classics to mind, while top stitching gave lightweight coats in suede and in cotton a quiet charm of their own… Ferretti didn't skimp on the filmy dresses she does so well…they came tucked, knotted, appliqued with flowers, decorated with tiny strips of fluttering chiffon or bands of ruffles, inset with sheer chiffon and layered." Season after season, Ferretti has managed to stay on top of the growing demand for something new, without losing her hallmark touch.

Anne-Marie Schiro of the New York Times (5 March 1999) also reported on Ferretti's dresses: "Pretty, rather than glamorous, is the word for Alberta Ferretti's evening dresses, in colors like rose, wine, yellow, cream or brown velvet forming geometric or mazelike patterns on tulle. With high waistlines and uneven hems, the clothes have a youthful femininity that was more ingenue than movie star.… She is one of the Italian designers who snuggle comfortably and tastefully into fashion's current decorative mood." Expanding upon her gown creations, Ferretti has also succeeded in the realm of matrimonial vogue. Ellen Tien of the New York Times, writing in June 2000 reported that "at Intermix, whimsical brides have all but bought out Alberta Ferretti's freeform white taffeta strapless dress with space-age silver bugle beads, square rhinestones and oversize white sequins."

Stressing individuality, one of Ferretti's successful clothing lines, "Philosophy," actually has an Alberta Ferretti philosophy to go with it: "You are you. Free in a world taking shape in harmony with the New Age. Universal symbols of Conscience, Peace, Love energize and transform the traditional concepts of Earth, Sex, Money. An interior being that must be immediately visible throughout the total style, from clothes to accessories to interior décor. Whoever encounters you must grasp your spirit on the spot. No mediation. Immediacy calls the shots; it sparks your personal uniqueness."

Alberta Ferretti, spring/summer 2001 ready-to-wear collection: from the "Philosophy" line. © Reuters NewMedia Inc./CORBIS.
Alberta Ferretti, spring/summer 2001 ready-to-wear collection: from the "Philosophy" line.
© Reuters NewMedia Inc./CORBIS.

Although Ferretti seems to have a definite flair for fashion, she also has an eye for business. According to Women's Wear Daily in October 2000, Ferretti will be launching a Ferretti fragrance line with the fragrance division of Proctor & Gamble. Capturing her own imagination and dreams, combined with dedication and hard work, Ferretti reached great heights from modest beginnings.

—Sandra Schroeder

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