“What I call the great lesson of the East, of India in particular, a land that has won my heart forever, captured my imagination in an everlasting way and this love of mine is not simply a fascination with India’s ancient history and exquisite art.
Often what catalyzed my attention were the activities of everyday life that I observed in the streets while visiting Asian cities during my stay in India sedimenting in my mind sensations, impressions, influences that I then reworked and translated into my clothes through a detail, a shade of color, a special technique”.
“Especially in the beginning, when I didn’t know a word of Hindi, I’d spend the evening in my hotel room with sheets of rice paper - the least expensive and therefore the most common type in India - taking notes and sketching faces, bodies, objects.
I’d snap pics with my eyes, with my brain, and with a pencil, for I never wanted to use an actual camera.
And now I think back on those moments, I remember the colors, the environs, the crowd.
They are impressions etched in my memory”.
“Simply observing the incessant flow of people crowding the streets, I assimilated a keen predilection for the full spectrum of pink, yellow and orange hues: bright sunny shades that Indian women often choose for their saris, as these colors are easily attainable through dyeing. And they remain impressed in my memory for the vibrant sense of vitality, passion and even opulence that they convey".
In India the exaltation of color culminates in The Holi Festival: a euphoric celebration with singing, dancing, scattering everywhere of fantastically bright powders.
A sensational color feast and most joyous of jubilees, it attracts thousands of people who - with paint on faces - luxuriate in the whirl of powders all around.
Held on the first day of the full moon near the spring equinox, it celebrates the victory of good over evil, the end of winter, the solace of laughter and forgiveness.
Safeguarding memories of his observations and emotions, Ferré elaborated upon influences and impressions which he then translated into forms, details, articles of clothing without ever ignoring traditional everyday modes of dress.
Men’s dhotis and women’s saris comprise an authentic identity card indicating the caste, religion and civil status of the wearer.
“In my fashion, in my style there is a surely strong intent to give the dress a clear connotation directly from initial sketch: a few quick lines on the sheet of white paper that promptly convey a natural and necessary connection with the body and its physiological need to move in synch with what covers, protects and enhances it".
"Another ultra important and fascinating element is the wealth of symbolic meanings found in every aspect of Eastern life, I’d say, in every corner of the Eastern soul, as in every drape and fold of the sari.
I studied the sari at length: absolute simplicity and total elegance, endless ways of wearing it, with an infinity of different meanings and possibilities for draping”.
“... naturally, I think about shapes and styles, sari above all: absolute simplicity and total elegance, humble fabric, no encumbrance whatsoever, direct rapport with the body, adaptability to every gesture and movement, particularly those made by women from the lowest castes as they perform the heaviest of tasks..."
“The sari is still a major player in the new India - the Bollywood scene - with its popular myths, immense force of attraction, easy sense of opulence that enraptures us on the spot”.
Encapsulating the sari style, this is a design where Ferré divides and reassembles two precious rectangles of shimmering embroidered silk taffeta.
“... what inspired me here was the idea of giving the sari a contemporary slant, combining pure white and dazzling brilliance, suggesting new modes of interpretation, at once delineating and enveloping the body with a special sheen somewhere between techno and tradition”.
In this case the garment seems to bypass a shape of its own in favor of one which - like the sari - makes utmost use of the material in adapting to and/or following the figure.
Still white, yet connected with a primitive culture, expressed in the clothing styles of Rabari, a pastoral people, proud of the solemnity of their traditional costumes, as well as in the Hellenic peplums common in primitive depictions of the Indian subcontinent’s divinities. The latter represent an important legacy dating to Alexandre the Great’s military adventure reaching nearly the banks of the Ganges river.