Gucci RTW Fall 2010

Frida Giannini presented her most successful show since joining the company, delivering a clean, polished collection that pulsed with insouciant glamour.

As the saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And by that standard, Frida Giannini just might have taken Gucci down that tricked-out, laced-up but bankable road again. But not this time. Giannini did an about-face, and in her most successful show since joining the company, delivered a clean, polished collection that pulsed with insouciant glamour.

Oh, it felt good. Backstage preshow, Giannini spoke of house icons, specifically those originating in the Seventies and Nineties, two critical and commercial high points for the company. Back then, a sense of relaxed luxury ruled, a feeling Giannini restored through calm, classic colors (white and icy grays, black and loads of earthy browns) and copious ultraluxe materials (suede, beaver fur, napa leather) that combined for a natural, rich effect.

The silhouette was lean but not severe, with daywear devoted to sleek sheaths done in simple folds and Rothko-inspired prints. Even sleeker and sexier were the solid styles razor cut to reveal a flash of flesh here and there. Low-slung pants, some with leather waistlines and slim, crisply creased straight legs that swallowed the platform heels whole, and the thigh-high suede boots — tasteful, not trampy — made a great foundation for the phenomenal outerwear.

Whether a statement-maker with hand-dyed ostrich-feather sleeves or a classic, such as a collarless camel coat tailored to perfection in remarkably non-techy neoprene, the coats served to spotlight the quality and craftsmanship that’s been there all along — if masked beneath the flashy trappings of late. And yet there was ample embellishment throughout, particularly on the cocktail attire, with which Giannini unleashed some rock ’n’ roll attitude. Short black dresses were cut from python-patterned lace and embroidered with dégradé feathers and paillettes, sometimes all at once. She pulled it off with this newfound refinement, nowhere more evident than the revamped Gucci logo — two gold, curvilinear interlocking Gs, originally designed in 1973 — that appeared on a few pants but mostly the lush handbags, which, as overt marketing and status emblems go, was sleek and discreet.

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