Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milestones issue 02/23/2011

“The world of celebrities is a strange one, but also very important for designers because we’re always looking for new collaborations and celebrities are looking for us,” noted Frida Giannini.

So, to better tend to red-carpet whims and needs, the Italian luxury brand stepped into the rarefied world of haute couture in May 2010 with Gucci Première, offering celebs one-of-a-kind gowns.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We frequently received requests from celebrities, actresses and singers, and it was very difficult because, of course, Gucci is a ready-to-wear brand,” Giannini said. “Celebrities and their stylists are very demanding and they ask for many things — sometimes at the last minute  — which our factories couldn’t necessarily produce in only a few days.

“Previously, we were up against top couture names — Dior, Chanel, Armani — and while our designs were very much appreciated, our finishes weren’t necessarily up to standard.” 

This new undertaking offers a capsule collection that Giannini renews twice a year with additional bespoke gowns on request. Gucci is working with seamstresses, embroiderers and other craftspeople in Paris, the capital of couture, to execute the designs.

A runway show, however, isn’t currently on the radar.

A true movie connoisseur, Giannini tells of how, inspirationwise, she still gravitates toward silver screen icons from the Forties to the Seventies. The long list includes Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon, Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly), Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn.

Furthermore, growing up in Rome, home to the Cinecittà studios, the influence of classic movies from such Italian directors as Vittorio De Sica, as well as actors like Vittorio Gassman and Marcello Mastroianni, has been invigorating.

“I have very strong memories of movies from [Michelangelo] Antonioni with Monica Vitti, Silvana Mangano in ‘Bitter Rice’ or Fellini, of course, for all his incredible creativity,” she noted in Cannes last May, when Gucci Première launched. “So I have a lot of images always in front of me and in my memories.”

She acknowledged she’s more lukewarm about today’s stars, many of whom lack a strong fashion identity — they’re too dependant on stylists, who in turn dress too many clients.

“Once actresses used to be much more faithful to a designer,” she reflected. “Today, it’s a different story — and in all honesty, I’m still waiting for a new David Bowie or Mick Jagger to come along.”

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