Upon arriving at Gucci's cruise show, it was hard to know where to lookat the acres of tanned skin, tawny hair, and jewel-colored dresses lining the runway, or at the seventies redux collection coming down it. This was the last stop in what's turned out to be a season tour of spectacular venues: Chanel in Miami, DVF in Florence, and now Gucci, mounted in the garden of the seventeenth-century Villa Aurelia in Rome, the exact spot where Frida Giannini had her wedding party three years ago. (She's a local girl made good, and the occasion was both a triumphant, sentimental homecoming and an excuse to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the opening of Gucci's Via Condotti store in the city.)
The clothes; the bouncing, center-parted hair; and the seventies vibe were all indivisible from Giannini's own style: a contemporary cherry-picking of casual-glam, jet-set dressing as caught in the flashbulbs of the paparazzi 30 years ago. She quoted Talitha Getty, Lee Radziwill, and Jane Birkin as direct inspiration: Getty for the long, flowy gypsy dresses; Radziwill for the neat banded coats; and Birkin for the teeny-tiny thigh-high smocks trimmed with broderie anglaise. Principally, though, it was a rendering of everything Giannini habitually plays with from the Gucci archive and makes her ownhere in a palette of white, caramel, burnt orange, teal, and python. There were seashell scarf prints on chiffon, rib-cinching patchwork suede jackets, leather bombers with scallop cutouts or rose tattoo prints, disco-era cross-laced blouses, gold pendants with enamel scallops, and thick, silk cord belts looped through crisp white flares. The standouts: a pair of stacked espadrilles with a fringed suede ankle strap, the big low-slung python shoulder bag with a fold-over flap, and five different printed multilayer chiffon maxi dresses. It turns out, the dresses are special editions destined to be sold only in Rome. Right after the show, Giannini was already putting one of thema black version with a twisted scarf necklinethrough its party paces. It looked right at home.