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Gucci

The Milan malaise — it's been the topic of the week. Everybody knows that except for Prada, trends do not start here, nor does anything resembling new talent stop here for any length of time. <BR>

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The Milan malaise — it’s been the topic of the week. Everybody knows that except for Prada, trends do not start here, nor does anything resembling new talent stop here for any length of time. At its best, Milan boasts other strengths — beautiful, approachable, still-interesting clothes and exquisite manufacturing.

Unfortunately, midway through the collections here, they have been in scant supply. Case in point: Gucci, where on Wednesday Frida Giannini showed an inexplicable collection.

At this point, Gucci’s era of high influence is long gone, replaced by a calmer aura all the way around, except for the numbers, which just keep soaring. There’s nothing wrong with Giannini’s runway supporting the reality that Gucci is, first and foremost, not a hotbed for trends, but a major commercial gold mine bringing chic to the tony masses. Only, the clothes Giannini showed were anything but a commercial juggernaut. They played like a joust between silvery Courrèges space chicks and Eastern European majorettes, jacketed, caped and outlined in patent purple and red. Huh? Even the scores of printed baby-doll dresses could only look not silly on models -— a notoriously unreliable market.

What is Gucci today? A little jacket over tight pants? A loud print slapped onto every possible garment? Shoes with hardware? Those motifs, even when attractive, hardly make a fashion image. Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter. Perhaps the cash cow that is Gucci will ultimately put the lie to the truism about a strong fashion identity fueling the best of accessories machines.

For now, however, it’s hard to imagine this collection fueling anything but dismay.

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