For fall, a number of designers are choosing to stare down the recession with in-your-face fashion, often Eighties-inspired. Count Gucci’s Frida Giannini squarely in that category. The collection Giannini showed on Saturday was inspired by Tina Chow and, as the program notes read, “a glittering, glamorous time, when going out was a way of life.” But refinement, not so much.
The gauche glam of the uncontested flashiest decade in living memory was part of the appeal for Giannini. That meant that the designer ignored Chow’s innate elegance while homing in on her androgynous allure. “This is a collection for a dangerous woman,” Giannini said before the show. “She’s a tough woman. She’s not shy. She wants to stand out.”
Giannini played to her with a daring collection that was as on trend as it was off the glitter charts. Throughout, she worked the gender play in the leggiest manifestations possible. For club-crawlers, a great big yes, but not for wallflowers, those thigh-high boots under micro-micro-minidresses or their butched-up counterpoint, pleated pants slung low and cut skintight through the legs, paired with strong-shouldered jackets for that rock ’n’ roll-gangster effect. Giannini pilfered from the world of sports for sexed-up jogging gear and incorporated details aplenty with fabric patchworks and an elaborate, tightly packed floral appliqué treatment fashioned from feathers.
Even sans such flourishes, the dark palette was far too glitzy for sobriety, given the parade of paillettes, sequins, Lurex and lamés — a lineup that could have benefited from some editing. But then, the whole show was an ode to a raucous, decadelong, real-life fashion show its participants thought would never end.