Milan fashion is about the fusion of pragmatism and panache. If by describing in her program notes “the perfection of couture lines applied to ready-to-wear” Frida Giannini overstated the luxe factor of her fall collection for Gucci, she did make a point: This lineup was about smart, wearable, precisely cut style. Never mind that she threw in the words “subversive” and “fetish” (the shoes were inspired by the sculptures of Allen Jones). In fact, the clothes were neither, though they were plenty sexy and, by day at least, even low-key, but for a giant fern appliqué and lots of high-shine skins.
Giannini favored structured, sculptural lines with of-the-moment pronounced shoulders, either rounded or slightly raised. She showed roomy coats and jackets over slim skirts, while cutting suits and dresses with body-conscious allure, the latter often with wide V-necklines. The mood was undeniably strong, with a power-woman vibe that heightened when Giannini worked in leather and snake, most of it black. Her fabric palette integrated traditional autumn tones — moss green, russet, maroon — impressively. Most often she kept the attention on the silhouette; when she veered from that approach, as with those overgrown ferns plastered down the sides and sleeves of a suit, she compromised the prevailing chic. Luckily, such hyper-decorative displays were rare.
Until nightfall, that is. Giannini’s evening — frenzied, strategically placed pastiches of feathers, studs and sequins on black fishnet —seemed to have one purpose only: to offer a flamboyant, edgy update on sparkly illusion Oscar fare.