NEW YORK — In Act Two of the post-Tom Ford era, it seems the Gucci Girl is turning down her dosage of high-voltage sexuality, and perhaps not taking herself quite so seriously.
"To be sure, she's a confident woman who works hard for her success, but at the same time, she cares for her dogs in the park," explained designer Frida Giannini, upgraded in March from accessories director to creative director of accessories and women's ready-to-wear after the abrupt departure of Alessandra Facchinetti. Giannini is here this week to present Gucci's cruise collection, her first ready-to-wear for the house. She will show the collection of about 28 looks this afternoon at the Gagosian Gallery.
After Giannini's promotion, a shift in sensibility seemed inevitable. After all, her very well-received Flora accessories collection, based on a scarf designed for Grace Kelly in 1966, was a softer, more feminine take on the house's iconography than those designed by Ford. In fact, her tactic of delving into the archives for elements to manipulate forms a large part of the cruise collection, which is rife with takes on iconic motifs. The horsebit shows up in prints large and small on both clothes — a charming silk blouse, a breezy gown — and handbags. The classic men's loafer gets a chunky high-heel and goes glam in gold crocodile or sporty in white leather. And bicolor webbed ribbon is everywhere: the waistband of a quirky Flora-derived insect-print swimsuit, or woven with chains for trim on coats and jeans.
"When I started to work on this collection, I thought immediately of a real cruise," said Giannini, 32. "I imagined a summer trip on a boat in the Mediterranean."
Her line covers a range of yacht-worthy looks, from a navy satin peacoat worn with sharply pressed white silk capri pants to bohemian dresses in mixes of prints, lace and macrame inspired by those her grandmother once stocked at her now-closed store near Rome, which are perfect for eager vacationers en route to Positano. And while pieces such as a short halter dress done up in white iridescent sequins are undeniably sexy, there is also a new sense of calm, and at times even sweetness. "It's never so aggressive," said Giannini simply.Still, she knows that while a strong resort collection makes for a powerful start, the more high-drama test will come when she stages her first major runway presentation, for spring. While Giannini expects overt iconography to play a major role, she's yet to determine the specifics.
"To be honest, I am still working on that idea, so I don't know exactly how," she said. "But to me, the iconic elements of the company are very, very important."
As for the presentation itself, while the look of Facchinetti's show mirrored Ford's high-drama approach, Giannini sees the need to put clear distance between her own approach and his. Though her debut will still take place at Milan's Hotel Diana Majestic, "I would like to change [the look]," she said. "Probably the light will be one of the most important elements — definitely less dramatic, less dark."
Ironically, however, though Giannini is stressing the lightness of her approach, she has already felt the dark side of the rumor mill. It came via an uncredited report published Friday that had the Gucci brass displeased with Giannini's performance and questioned her future at the house, this despite the fact that she had yet to show a single outfit and that Gucci president Mark Lee accompanied her to New York. Company executives seemed plenty irritated by the rumor, dismissed by Lee with a terse, "Absolutely not true."
Giannini herself seems to have taken it in stride. She comes across as calm and confident, focused not only on her new professional role but also on personal matters. She's to be married in July, and will return home this week to perfect her dress. And of course, she is working on more fully forming her version of the Gucci Girl.
"I would like to imagine a woman who can play with her life," said Giannini, "but always sophisticated and rich because obviously we are still Gucci."
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)