Back to the sixties. Maybe it was all those old pictures of movie stars sporting Gucci in The Director, a new documentary about her design process, that got Frida Giannini going about the brand's glory days. The film, produced by James Franco, was screened this January in Paris. Giannini has mined the house archives before, as recently, in fact, as her Spring 2013 ode to principessa glamour. Only this time, the look was Swinging London rather than Roman dolce vita. Think more Jean Shrimpton, less Marella Agnelli.
"I felt the need to materialize the essence of Gucci. A longing for precision [and] clean lines." Such was her stated aim, and that instinct made for a spirited outing, one of Giannini's best. She tapped into the casual side of Gucci's heritage (yes, those were honest to goodness blue jeans) and its tailoring smarts without sacrificing much of the house's trademark glam. Echoing her menswear show last month, the silhouette was fairly shrunken: Snug peacoats hugged pullovers and button-downs, and drainpipes tapered above the ankle, the better to show off the cool shoes, a horsebit loafer hybridized with a Chelsea boot. Sleeveless dresses with sharp, above-the-knee hems had a youthful efficiency. But London's dolly birds never had it this good. Those A-line dresses came in soft napa leather in poppy pastels—baby blue, sage green, and a mustardy yellow—or animal-spot pony hair. And was there ever fur—curly teddy bear shearling, goat hair, beaver, mink—only rendered in shapes (a sweatshirt, for example) that downplayed the luxury factor.
For evening, Giannini eschewed gowns in favor of mod minidresses and knee-high boots. But if the shapes were simple, the smoky crystal discs embellishing a neckline or the panels of a pleated skirt were not. The starlet set will fight over the yellow long-sleeve number with its black leather collar and bib of crystals. In that sense, Giannini and Gucci came full circle this season.