Before Gucci's 90th anniversary show today, Frida Giannini cited a pair of influences: Anjelica Huston, as lensed by the photographer Bob Richardson, and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. That first reference point meant we were back in the 1970's again. Giannini's girls have traded in last season's harem pants, macramé moto jackets, and lean jumpsuits for culottes, pussy-bow blouses topped by snug sweater vests or velvet blazers, and shirtwaist dresses. Many of them wore fedoras with feathers in the brim, and some sported both a shoulder bag (an elongated version of the Jackie) and a mini top-handle frame bag. If that sounds like Giannini had pared down the glamour quotient, think again. There was fur and python and patent leather galore. The lattermost came in a sexy-as-all-get-out slim black pencil skirt worn with a silver fox chubby. What was most notable about the furs and pythons was their eye-opening colors, and the designer gave full rein to her penchant for mixing unexpected hues together in one outfit: Take the ocher coat with Mongolian lamb trim worn with a scarlet blouse and a bordeaux hat, or the amber python jacket with rust-colored fur collar that topped a lavender shirt and violet cardigan.
For evening, Giannini went long, cutting draped gowns in as much as 35 meters of chiffon. Don't think for an instant, though, that these were covered up. On the contrary, they dipped down to the navel and came slit up to the hips. Sure, there was a long-sleeved version, but it was as sheer as the others; the model's matching briefs were on full view. Here, the designer skipped the fur in favor of shrugs or scarves or jackets whipped up from hand-dyed silk flowers.
Backstage, Giannini said the long dresses were the Florence Welch part of the equation, explaining that she could picture the chanteuse rocking one of them on stage. But they wouldn't have looked out of place on Anjelica circa 1970-something, either. The seventies are understandably dear to both the Gucci brand and its creative director, though coming off a Spring season where so many designers were indebted to the decade, that meant this collection lacked the shock of the new. Still, you can't fault the luxe factor of today's show or the fact that there was so much wantable, wearable fashion on the runway, that fab patent skirt not least of all.