INVITED EDITOR Alberta Ferretti
The true power of women today is no longer believing what men made us believe we were. Today the power of women is to believe in themselves.
Dear Alberta, Numero Russia is delighted to have you as our Fashion Expert for the Women Empowerment issue. You are the symbol of women power, beauty and inspiration and your opinion is really important for our audience.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: Brand Alberta Ferretti is always recognizable for its distinctive lightness and romanticism, why did you choose this particular style? What do you mean by this?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: I think a fashion designer doesn’t choose a style to interpret but designs what they feel most drawn to. I’m convinced you can’t choose a style if it’s not yours by character, culture and sensibility. My style, as you call it, is elegant and romantic for two reasons in particular: the first is that I believe fashion should speak of elegance and that there can’t be fashion without elegance. The second is because I believe that romanticism is a strong feeling. I have never seen romanticism as a weak attitude, but as a powerful characteristic that builds strength of character and personality. Perhaps it’s a more Mitteleuropean idea of the romantic but that also corresponds to the culture I was born into and that shaped me. In a certain sense, Emilia Romagna is a land of strong, determined women, equally capable of managing the fortunes of a family or a company, and at the same time of being passionate, being able to live and to show the reality of the beauty of feelings. That is what I mean by romanticism and that is what I want my fashion to communicate through my clothes.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: What is the image of the #albertaferrettigirl?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The image of my "girl" is the woman of today. A woman who is independent in her opinions and in her social interactions, who doesn’t let herself be influenced by prejudice. A woman who shows her personality also through the choice of clothes that are useful throughout the different moments of her day. Clothes that match her personality and aren’t costumes to play a part in the play of life, because the #albertaferrettigirl knows how to build her own stage.
"The image of my "girl" is the woman of today."
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: People feel when things are done with soul, looking at your sophisticated
collections it is noticeable that you completely surrender yourself. Where do you find so much strength and how do you replenish your spent emotional resources?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The strength? The energy? Oh God, they are useful, of course. Always. And you always have to find a way to recharge them. But really what you need is love for the work you do. I consider myself very lucky because I get to do the job I chose to do when I was very young, what I dreamed of doing as a child when I watched my mother's customers in the shop in Cattolica, what I always prized above all else. And when I'm tired I think about how the next day I will have to face a new challenge, whether it’s creative or organizational matters little. But it will be a challenge I will have to overcome for love of my work.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: They call you the “chiffon queen”, thanks to the light and airy evening looks, can they fit into the life of strong and independent women?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: Absolutely yes. I don't see the contradiction in being independent women and wearing light chiffon dresses. Romantic dresses, too, in the sense that I said before, but also delicate, feminine, sensual, elegant. Where is it written that an independent woman can't dress like that? That’s a prejudice of misogynistic culture and we’ll let people who want to believe that can keep on believing it but we can’t let ourselves be limited by their prejudice.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: Now many people prefer to wear what is in trend, thus everyone becomes somehow similar to each other. How can you save and show your individuality when the whole world seeks to simplify both life and clothing?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The problem doesn’t just relate to clothing and how we dress because conformity is a drive that relates to all the ways women and men express themselves. In fashion a big drive towards conformity was from streetwear, which is now a bit on the wane because many fashion designers realized the error and now we’re all trying to bring fashion into the street instead of the street into fashion. Fashion has a big responsibility in people's lives, because it’s through clothes that women and men communicate who they are. For that very reason fashion can keep striving so that every person rediscovers what makes them proud. Finally, simplifying doesn’t mean making everything simple, but rather making choices easy: this means that every choice must be made by following the impulse of one’s own culture and one’s own personality.
"In a word, in the reality we live in where equality is not yet complete, women have shown themselves to have greater balance than men."
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: How do you feel about fashion trends, do you follow? Do you reflect this in your collections?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: Fashion trends are made to be cast aside the day after ... And in any case, in general I prefer to create trends rather than follow them. Fully aware that I will have to invent another the day after...
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: Many designers strive for gender equality, some shows of the men's and women's collections are now held in combination, where sometimes you can not tell the difference between men's and women's. How do you feel about the promotion of gender equality, unisex clothing?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: Gender equality and unisex are two different things. Single gender too has another meaning, but fashion has never offered it. I think it’s great that fashion is fighting against inequality and including all aspects of people’s personality and physical body. Fashion shouldn’t judge but welcome, include. Unisex, born in the 70s, contributed to making a more just society and freeing women from male pressures. Also because men need gender equality today more than women in the sense that if a man wants to completely understand the many different cultures and needs that exist in today's society he must cast aside misogynistic prejudices and strive for greater awareness like women strived over the many years it took to achieve a level of equality that is still not yet fully recognized.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: You often say that fashion is a continuation of a woman’s personality. How do you characterize the identity of women in our modern world of equality?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The female identity is expressed through comprehension, through welcoming, through inclusion, through not judging a priori without understanding the problem. In a word, in the reality we live in where equality is not yet complete, women have shown themselves to have greater balance than men.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: Do you think that men initially have more power and the abilities themselves? Is it right that men dictate what women need to wear?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: Absolutely not. I’ve never thought that and no one has the right to think it. Nor, by the way, would I find it right if women dictated to men, or other women, what they can wear.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: You have received many awards, have you encountered gender inequality in your work? After all, women are quite difficult to achieve such global heights as you.
ALBERTA FERRETTI: I repeat what I said above: full gender equality has not yet been achieved. And I reiterate: for women it is still difficult to achieve the milestones that men achieve more easily. But not because of ability, only because of a cultural habit that assigns advantageous positions to men. Despite this, there are powerful women today and they are the ones that thanks to their abilities have not let others stop them. It takes determination and personality.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: A.F. previous collection was devoted to the opposition of feminine power and sensuality. For whom is your new autumn-winter 2019 collection created?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: Power and sensuality are not mutually exclusive and aren’t contradictory. That is a misogynistic prejudice, but which many women also have, that a powerful woman can’t be sensual because people say that a powerful woman must have a tough, masculine character. It’s a mistake to believe that because it’s a big lie. The 2019 autumn-winter collection is designed for a contemporary woman who doesn’t believe that lie ...
NUMÉRO RUSSIA:Your brand has begun to offer more utilitarian things in the interpretation for modern life. (These are not banal suede skirts, functional large pockets, an oversize-coat and an abundance of loose high-rise trousers.) How do you manage to keep femininity in such a dynamic rhythm of life to an ordinary resident of a megacity?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The issue of femininity is one of the topics that many prejudices land on. I’ll answer you with a question: why can’t a woman who has to tackle lots of commitments relating to work, family, children and her social life dress in a way that shows her femininity? I’ll give you my answer: because men have always made us believe that only by being "masculine" can commitments be tackled. And in fact we women demonstrate that that is not the case.
"Power and sensuality are not mutually exclusive and aren’t contradictory."
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: How do you comment on your latest collection, which was held under the slogan "Green is the New Glam". Now society is beginning to consume consciously, how do you think, how soon will we come to a completely eco-friendly fashion?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: The issue of eco-sustainability is very important: we don’t have a planet B, we don’t have an ocean B and we don’t have a humanity B. We must protect our planet, our seas and our fellow man. Fashion cannot turn a blind eye. My eco-friendly collection is a first small step and is an invitation to think about the problem to find a solution. I don't know if completely eco-friendly fashion will ever be possible, but we have to try to start building a different way of working that, while tracing the origin of materials and their sustainability, also takes on the working conditions of the people involved in the whole manufacturing supply chain. It’s an important issue because it’s about humanity’s culture, which fashion is an important interpreter of. Of all the consumer products, fashion is the one that has the greatest rapport with the body. We need to think about it.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: Alberta, what do you think is the true female power?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: I’ll answer you with a simple statement: the true power of women today is no longer believing what men made us believe we were. Today the power of women is to believe in themselves.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: How do you manage to spend 11-12 hours a day in this whirlwind of events in the office, fly around the world, but at the same time walk a few times a week alongside the beach and meet your close friends? Where do you get energy from?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: More than energy, it’s organizational skills. And if at some point I don’t manage to do everything, I don't make myself feel guilty about not having done everything that was planned.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: In 1998, the President of Italy personally presented you with the award "Commander of Labor", you were one of 25 honored with this title. Were you the only woman who received the order that year?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: I was nominated by president Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. And to think that people said he didn’t appreciate powerful women ... I don't remember if other women were nominated that year, but it doesn't matter because since then many of my colleagues have received significant recognition. For example, Laura Biagiotti in Italy was named a Commander of Labor in 1995, even before me, and last June Maria Grazia Chiuri received the Legion of Honor in Paris. They are welcome awards.
NUMÉRO RUSSIA: What will you wish for #numerorussiateam?
ALBERTA FERRETTI: I wish you a successful future and beautiful milestones. But above all, I hope that with your magazine you will be able to interpret not just fashion as it changes but also the change in society. Because fashion always reflects the society in which it is born.