Saturday, 4 September 2010


She loves to talk on the phone

while washing the dinner dishes,

catching up long distance or

dealing with issues closer to home,

the reconnoitring with the long lost

or a recent so-and-so. She finds it

therapeutic, washing down

the aftermath. And that feeling

she gets in her stomach with a loved one’s

prolonged silence. And under the sink

in the dark among the L-pipes, the confederate

socket wrenches, lost twine, wire lei,

sink funk, steel-wool lemnisci, leitmotifs

of oily sacraments, a broken compass forever

pointing southeast by east, mold codices,

ring-tailed dust motes from days well served,

a fish-shaped flyswatter with blue horns,

fermented lemures, fiery spectres,

embottled spirit vapors swirling in the crude

next to the Soft Scrub, the vinegared

and leistered sealed in tins, delicious with saltines,

gleaned spikelets, used-up votives. . . .

In the back in the corner forgotten

an old coffee can of bacon fat

from a month of sinful Sundays,

a luna moth embossed, rising—a morning star.

--Catherine Bowman


A lot of people think that Alberta Ferretti, though an icon, is perhaps a little behind the times with her simple, classic, Grecian-inspired dresses and clean shapes. Most people I know who are under the age of 40 think this, in fact. People nowadays want fast, flashy, flamboyant fashion; they want to be zipped, scraped, sprayed, slicked, pinned and sucked into 'hip', young, sexy minidresses that 'say' things like 'flirty', 'fun' and 'not afraid to get up on the club stage and belt out ABBA or Cyndi Lauper'. Well, OK, maybe not the latter -- and don't get me wrong; there is nothing (and I repeat, NOTHING) wrong with donning that cute pink mini with the cutouts from Topshop now and then. But don't you ever long for the good ol' days when there were no statement jewelry pieces, no goth-chic, no sky-high platforms? 'Cause that's what begins to bother me after a few seasons: the fact that the bare bones of style have been concealed with layers of frou-frou and sequins. And it is oh so nice to be back where we started again.

What always strikes me about Ferretti's clothes is that the sweeping gowns in particular seem to be shaping and molding themselves to the wearer's physical and mental contours -- meaning, be it Taylor Momsen or Tilda Swinton, the dress seems as though it has been expressly made to fit their style and personality.

While some of the dresses are more architectural, like the one pictured above with its linear and geometric appearance -- pleats thrown into sharp relief, an interlocking pyramid pattern subtly revealed beneath the bust, a diagonal trim -- (notice, though, that it still retains a certain fluidity, asymmetry, a certain feeling that Ferretti has made her own), countless others, mostly of the more flowing type, seem as if they had taken root and sprouted out of the models' skin and can change, on a whim, into a completely different garment, or rather, a garment that says something completely different.

Take the dress pictured above as an example. With the scooped, folded sleeves and collar opening like a flower bud to reveal the perfect amount of skin -- so as not to seem prudish and neither sleazy -- followed by the main part of the dress, simple so as not to distract from the genius of the neckline and hemline, but still intricately ruched at the sides (as the wearer moves about, these little details would become more noticeable), and finally, the wispy hemline, delicately skimming the kneecaps but revealing a good couple inches of skin, and hanging slightly askew, and having the same effect as the neckline. This designer has found the perfect balance between sexy and sophisticated. But of course you already knew that.

The more I look at this, the more I love it. A periwinkle-blue pillar of a gown, simple enough, but revealing a playful flash of collarbone here, and a glimpse of leg there...

This piece stands out, although it isn't one of my favorites. The shape is amazing, but I don't think the fabric suits it.

A stately dress of midnight blue, topped off by a darling little capelet-thingy. LOVE IT, enough said.

I could rant about how exquisite this is, but I would just be repeating myself. I'll shut up now.

But one more thing -- I just love the way the satin and the way its crimped, I guess, works with the light -- a waterfall of stripes.

Thank you, come again.



  1. Now those are indeed elegant – no cute pink mini for us over forties :) Lovely overview and astute commentary E!