The nonwinter that European ski resorts are currently enduring is one more reason to reflect upon the implications of global warming, and Frida Giannini was not the only designer to wonder this season if the lifestyle she was celebrating in her new collection might be a thing of the past. If this is indeed the endgame for winter wonderlands, Giannini is at least determined they'll fade out in style. Against a stone-paved and crested backdrop that subtly evoked one of King Ludwig's lodges, she offered up a charming, funny, and luxe-lite salute to the Alpen winter ritual. If an extravagant fur coat thrown over a chunky, white rollneck and plaid pants raised the specter of Gunther Sachs in full playboy cry, Giannini was equally capable of channeling the romantic young swains that preoccupy artist Elizabeth Peyton. Hence her original take on eveningwear, which hybridized a ski suit and a tux. (Just when we were thinking skinny was so last year, we're face to face with the apotheosis of lean!)
But it was exactly that sense of young bucks at play that trimmed the fat out of such Tyrolean specials as a forest-green suede jacket (lamb-lined, leather-piped) or stolidly bourgeois winter wool plaid suits. One always felt that Giannini was having fun, especially when she tacked on the crests and feather cockades, or sent her boys out in mukluks and black leather pants. When a burgundy astrakhan smoking jacket appeared on the catwalk to a blast of Bond music, it was more Moore than Connery (never mind Craig). Giannini called it "Snow Glam," and it's a major part of her achievement at Gucci that there is no room for irony in her chalet.