Milan fashion is about the fusion of pragmatism and panache. If bydescribing in her program notes “the perfection of couture lines appliedto ready-to-wear” Frida Giannini overstated the luxe factor of her fallcollection for Gucci, she did make a point: This lineup was aboutsmart, wearable, precisely cut style. Never mind that she threw in thewords “subversive” and “fetish” (the shoes were inspired by thesculptures of Allen Jones). In fact, the clothes were neither, thoughthey were plenty sexy and, by day at least, even low-key, but for agiant fern appliqué and lots of high-shine skins.

Giannini favored structured, sculptural lines with of-the-momentpronounced shoulders, either rounded or slightly raised. She showedroomy coats and jackets over slim skirts, while cutting suits anddresses with body-conscious allure, the latter often with wideV-necklines. The mood was undeniably strong, with a power-woman vibethat heightened when Giannini worked in leather and snake, most of itblack. Her fabric palette integrated traditional autumn tones — mossgreen, russet, maroon — impressively. Most often she kept the attentionon the silhouette; when she veered from that approach, as with thoseovergrown ferns plastered down the sides and sleeves of a suit, shecompromised the prevailing chic. Luckily, such hyper-decorative displayswere rare.

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