Frida Giannini decided to steer Gucci out of the seventies disco for spring, further away from the hot-and-sexy territory so emphatically occupied by Tom Ford. "I've been thinking about the early sixties, and a few things from the archive," she said of a show that began with short black coats and dresses piped in purple, orange, and red and that was grounded with block-heeled flats. It's Gucci's 85th anniversary, and Giannini's thoughts had probably been set in motion by flicking through paparazzi photos of the leggy likes of Ursula Andress and Britt Ekland, shopping at the company's Rome branch. But in the end, what she put on the runway had more to do with her efforts to broaden the brand's accessibility to young women than with reciting the history.
The collection looked best when Giannini stuck to graphic shifts. Decorated with hexagons of silver beading on white, they were worn with cute silver space-age flats. A few long, patchwork-print Empire scarf dressesa revisiting of an idea in her first resort collectionhad a similarly unforced appeal. She also showed refabricated updates of the skinny pants, boxy jackets, and low-heeled Beatle boots that were a hit for spring. Ultimately, though, the pressure to show a variety of potential hot sellers made for a lack of coherence. A puzzling passage of folkloric, vaguely Tyrolean printed dresses in the middle seemed to have nothing much to do with the rest, nor did it make any connection to trends emerging elsewhere. Not to say these looks won't be nice for a girly vacation come next summer, but to put forward a stronger point of view, Giannini needs to learn what's for retail racks, and what makes a concise statement in a show.