Frida Giannini's populist approach to Gucci has the ability to divide opinion between girls all over the world who see nothing wrong with buying into her accessible channeling of trends, and critics who wish for something more directional at this level of luxe. Still, in these extreme times, maybe that's splitting hairs. When a designer sees her market, it would be insanity not to go for it, and in Giannini's case, that means aiming at nightclubbing girls who might be tempted by a glittery upgrade on the slick-leather leg and big-top look all urban teenagers are rocking this year.
The legwear was either a case of black skintight thigh-high boots disappearing into the hemline of tunic tops, or leggings patchworked in suede, leather, and patent coming down in the opposite direction to cover the foot (often it was hard to tell which was which). The top halves were either kimono T-shirts or, for evening, tiny, drapey iridescent-crystal mesh dresses (inspired by Tina Chow, according to program notes). With the slicked-back hair, crimson lips, and mirrored shades, it was hard glamour for hard times, with the occasional half glance back at Tom Ford's heyday in a blue fox chubby or a skimpy one-shoulder black jersey dress with a slice of patent in the neck.
Giannini's personal imprint, repeated many times throughout the show, is the "Frida" pantsuit, which she introduced as a boyish balancer for all the glam gowns in her first collection. Now it has acquired bigger shoulders and a relaxed-hip, skinny-leg trouser fit, and, given its many representations in fabric options running from changeant-shot silk to jacquard to silver sequin to metallic leopard spot, it must be vindicating itself as a house best seller. For which, well done. Still, Giannini's insistence on hammering it home in all those exhaustive options is one of the things about her commercial style of showing that makes a crowd of critics mentally drum its fingers with impatience.