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Collections —Woman / Prêt-à-Porter

Spring / Summer — 2003

Press Release

“An abstract journey, easy intertwining of inspirations and impressions; an eccentric geography, subtle intersection of boundaries and borders. In pursuit of a mood, a milieu aptly capturing modern-day femininity – unique aggregate of grace and aggressiveness – I let my fantasy fly… so discovering different horizons, drawing together distant worlds. With keen attention and curiosity, I visited realities rich in crossover cultures: New Orleans, then up the West Coast, San Francisco to Portland, cities ever accustomed to assimilating what comes from the other side of the Pacific, from Japan, Macao, Shanghai …

This strange voyage led to a free, joyous transposition of principles of severity and rigor reminiscent of the East. With an intent for elegance that had me render the silhouette softer, sinuous; shapes fluid, body-skimming. Thus favoring the supplest of fabrics, as in satin and georgette. Yet all without giving up the perfection of structure, the importance of aplomb. Which finds in the shoulder a natural fulcrum and lets the garments drape with ease. On the color front, too, I shifted playfully between composure and energy, contrasting cool mixes of white and black with vibrant inflections of terracotta, yellow, orange, and with varying hues of hide brown (suede, leather, marabou… in distressed version).

From my observation point, the entire collection seems marked by an unprecedented poising between pure passion and a hardness that sparks images of Billie Holiday singing: “I’m gonna lock my heart and throw away the key…” So thinking slimmer, smaller, I awarded an otherwise rough&tough sanded-leather jacket (with thick stitching) a particular femininity; then softened the impact further by pairing it with a freely flowing, unevenly hanging georgette skirt, low slung on hips. I got similar results setting a skinny little jacket over the dress with lace inserts plus sporty drawstring and zips. It’s a dress I feel would look great on a new Louise Brooks, a new Wally Simpson. But also on Kristin Scott-Thomas or Chloé Sevigny. And on every woman today who has no fear of revealing the hints of masculinity inherent to her sex appeal…

As in a video game, merging for an instant in one fine fleeting image a “Shanghai Express” Marlene Dietrich and an “In the Mood for Love” Maggie Cheung, I strewed precise, discreet signs of the East over just about all elements of an utterly Western wardrobe. Urban, up-to-date. The obi-belt and the broad sash, both laced in back, cover the navel and stress the waist while gracefully holding the jacket in place. The shirt becomes a kimono – in double openwork taffeta effecting a tribal motif – and goes with the straight lacquer or paprika red pants or else the knifepleated ribbon skirt. The off-the-shoulder full-length black dress has delicate photographic-print flowers broken up and hidden by strips of georgette on the bias … as if peeping through Japanese rice-paper shutters…

For evening, I thought it normal to create a softer, all the more sensuous silhouette. Thus airy swathes of satin fashion skirts, jackets, dresses fluttering on the figure, forming ivory sheaths lined in coral or in black georgette. The supreme cleanliness of line allows for special accents in back (with long light flowing panels) or on sleeves (in striking butterfly-wing mode). Asymmetry, sheerness, sheen, texture unite in sculpting naturally sexy feminine bods: Julianne Moore’s, perhaps, or Jade Jagger’s…

For accessories too, I colored the usual logic of quality and innovation with suggestive references. The Betty Boop pumps in precious shiny leathers feature round toe and slight platform. Charmingly small, they make an impertinently leggy Josephine Baker all the leggier. In contrast, the sandals may have a solid heavy – even wooden – sole, to anchor so sharp and quick a figure to the ground. In black or ivory, the exquisitely distinctive eyewear may outline or conceal unforgettable eyes. And I’d be happy to exchange glances with a mysterious Salma Hayek, a sweet and gentle Rachel Weisz… “

Gianfranco Ferré