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From chic boutiques to luxury boats

From CNN's Monita Rajpal

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Alberta Ferretti says she spends most of her time working but counts herself lucky to work in the fashion business.

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(CNN) -- Alberta Ferretti made her first foray into fashion at an early age, opening a small store in her home town of Cattolica.

It stocked other labels and six years later, the Alberta Ferretti label emerged.

That was back in 1974. Today she also has a diffusion line and a large factory that produces other designer collections under license.

Her new 135-foot (41-meter) boat -- former Russian military vessel the Prometej -- is one of the many rewards of more than 30 years in fashion.

For work and for Ferretti's curiosity, it's important to travel and the Prometej allows her to do that at will.

The boat is where the tranquility and fluidity of her lifestyle and design style merge.

Her floating second home is just that: a place to entertain friends and colleagues -- and an escape.

"I think it's the same because when I stay on the boat I work again because of the light and natural atmosphere, which are important for my job," she told CNN.

"I am so busy. Sometimes I work on the boat. I work a lot in the office, I work a lot when I travel. For me it's the same, my private life and my job but I am very lucky to work in fashion."

The Romanian-built boat was built in 1957 -- the renovation of this former ice breaker is something Ferretti has relished -- in spite of some doubters.

"For me it was a very big challenge, a woman rebuilding a boat is quite unusual. All the men 'Oh my God,'" she said.

Ferretti said she counts herself very lucky for all she has but anyone who knows her realizes luck has little to do with her success.

She is determined without being domineering and works closely with a team of designers on her labels, Alberta Ferretti and Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti.

She is the daughter of a seamstress and grew up in Cattolica -- her design studio and factory remain there.

Ferreti started in fashion as a teenager -- selling other Italian labels.

The first Alberta Ferretti boutique opened in Milan about a decade later.

Her fashion group -- known as Aeffe -- grew in the late 80s and early 90s on the back of partnership agreements, and later licenses to produce other brands.

"I think it's very important that we have a big designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Narciso Rodriquez, Moschino in the Aeffe Group again and Pollini too. And for Aeffe, it's important to open new designs because it's important for fashion to have new designs."

Ferretti hints at further acquisitions -- her company, her life and this magnificent boat still evolving.

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