If you had to brainstorm the quintessential formula for Gucci-nessthe sexy, show-offy core of the brand's proposition you'd probably come up with something like "rock chick deluxe." Frida Giannini got that feeling across for Fall by staging a raid on the Russian/Cossack/folklore department of the hippie wardrobethe kind of printy, shaggy, peasanty things London groupies picked up at Portobello market in the early seventies, but scrubbed up to match today's luxury values, of course.
The potential banality of that starting point was parlayed through multiple accessories, detailed handwork, and a lot of furinto a collection that ranks as one of Giannini's most confident so far. She began with a billowy-sleeved embroidered peasant blouse over a pair of gold chain-swathed hipsters, thrust into flat riding boots reminiscent of the louche heyday of Rudolf Nureyev. From there, the show swung into tapestry coats, short chiffon print dresses with flippy skirts, and a plethora of cropped ribbon and stud-embellished vests and coats in shearling and Mongolian lamb. All this was rife with references to hussars and the folk textiles of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and it was finished with gold-chain bracelets, heart-shaped neckpieces, flying leather fringes on hobo shoulder bags, and the new "Babushka" carpet bag.
As a whole, the show didn't engage in any of the current dialogues (or are they anxiety attacks?) about where fashion is going. Perhaps, though, that's a kind of strength in itself. On the pragmatic side, this richly layered collection will separate out into dozens of affordable items. And on the other, there are a whole series of exceptional pieces, like the short lynx jacket and the tiered, feathery fox, whose appeal to the recession-proof superrich of the world could lie in the very fact that they don't fit in with any general trend. It'll be no surprise if many customers turn out to be Russian themselves.