MILAN, September 24, 2007 – Gianfranco Ferré died in June, and although rumors swirl that Lars Nilsson will step in, the house has not yet appointed a successor. For Spring, it presented a collection by committee, designed by Ferré's former team. The show was held not in the company headquarters, as usual, but in the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, a small museum in Milan.
The venue change begged a few questions: Was this going to be an homage to "the architect of fashion," known for precise tailoring and a flair for menswear? Or was it a signal that the collection was moving forward in a different gear? As it turned out, it was neither.
Gone were Ferré's sculptural silhouettes; in their stead was a flowing, languid look. Suits were cut in fluid washed satin with slim jackets and high-waisted palazzo pants. Hints of his famous white shirts could be seen in the poet blouses, but with their drawstrings and lacings they seemed altogether too fussy to have met with Ferré's approval. He might've liked the beaded and crystal-studded bustier dresses that closed the show, if only for the way their armorlike effect played subtly to his gender-bender streak, but there was a big disconnect between the oeuvre of a designer who didn't chase trends and a series of tiered silk smock and trapeze dresses that looked like this summer's chain-store fare. This is a collection in holding pattern, and a confused one at that. Ferré and his legacy deserve more.