Roberta Furlanetto has been producing her own collection since 2007. After graduating from Milan’s prestigious l’ Accademia di Belle Arte, she was hurtled into the world of high fashion through tangential means: an art work she had been commissioned to make came to the attention of Christian Lacroix who invited Roberta to come and collaborate with him in Paris where she produced exclusive pieces for his couture collections. This introduction to the top level of Parisian fashion, in turn, led to over a decade of collaborations with design houses such as Nina Ricci, Dior, Ungaro and Azzedine Alaia before Roberta set off on a path of her own.
Known primarily as a wonder with folds, pleats and clever draping, Roberta Furlanetto’s vision for fashion remains a deeply feminine one, despite the intricacies of construction that are highly technical. At times they border on a poetic version of something from the realms of civil engineering without ever veering in an exhibitionistic sculptural direction. Every garment utilises a myriad of clever nips and tucks or origami-like pleats that might fulfil a number of functions, the most obvious of which is decorative. But, they may have other functions too, such as providing an internal structure to the garment that gives it a dramatic and flattering shape. Produced to the highest standards by traditional Italian artisans, Roberta Furlanetto garments are produced, wherever possible, in sustainable luxurious fabrics and stand as testimony to Roberta’s clever drapage leaving the garments entirely devoid of seams.
Roberta Furlanetto’s oeuvre is one in which the classical silhouettes of the women’s’ wardrobe predominate, despite the signature surfaces and details of the garments. Hers are clothes that remain timeless rather than prone to the fickleness of a season’s fancy: dramatic evening dresses of varying lengths, simply framed dresses based on the tunic that can be worn both casually or dressed-up and the occasional combination of sheer draped trousers and simple jackets.
Her SS11 collection is an excellent example. Earthy neutral tones predominate from pale beige through to the darkest browns and dark muted moss green. Here and there, things are animated by bursts of soft pink or striking emerald green, though never in the same garment. The guiding principle here is monotone; almost as if the detailed construction of each garment should not have anything, not even colour contrast, detract from its complex beauty. Most of the dresses in the SS11 collection are short, on or above the knee. And, indeed, there is something reminiscent of the historic forms of short dresses in the shapes in the collection, whether the classic sleeveless shift of a 1960’s mini dress or the 1980’s manifestations in the form of ra-ra skirts and skating dresses. In fact, there’s quite a lot of 1980’s action going on in the collection, such as in the recurring combination of billowing tutu-like skirts with fitted cropped military jackets.
But all are naturally executed in the Furlanetto signature style, becoming something far more than the sum of their parts.