Normally, walking into the Gucci show venue involves consuming a welcome cocktail, feeling your way through draped walls, and taking your seat in an auditorium in which the clock seems to be perma-set at some hour after midnight (even when it’s three in the afternoon, which it usually is). What a different atmosphere there was this time—white walls, bright lights. The news for fall is that Frida Giannini has turned away from after-dark disco-glam and toward the day. “I think it’s important in this time to make real clothes for real women,” she said backstage, wearing a version of one of the looks she’d just shown: a leather, frill-fronted shirt; narrow, boyish pants; and low-heeled Gucci boots.
Believable, accessible day-dressing is the new order for fall at Gucci. Giannini didn’t have far to look outside the company archives for inspiration. The first real Gucci fashion heyday was in the sixties, when it belonged to a family firm that had amassed its fortune making leather goods, and then moved into supplying movie stars, jet-setters, and Jackie Onassis loafers with horse bits and hobo handbags. So Giannini’s looks were sixties-mod, filtered through a contemporary prism of dusty pastels and animal print. She walks the talk, this designer. Amongst 38 outfits, there wasn’t a single gown technically suitable for lounging on a nightclub banquette. The few crystal-embroidered A-line party dresses which ended the show were distinctly more cocktail than all-nighter.
Giannini has a talent for choosing colors. The slightly off, dusted-down pinks, greens, and blues she selected for her mod dresses, shaggy chubbies, peacoats, and pants avoided the obvious black and white cliches of sixties Op Art. The casual vibe and the systematic item-by-item reiteration of shapes spotlit the accessories—horse-bit emblazoned knee boots in python or patent leather with block heels (no stilettoes!), and the soft, capacious new version of the hobo bag. If there was a faint memory of the Tom Ford high nineties (as much as the sixties) in the furry coats, well, so much the better for Gucci. There’s a generation of girls in their twenties who were children when all that happened who are are now looking back on it with awe.