Frida Giannini is from a different generation than Milan's other female designers, and she sees fashion from a more pragmatic standpoint. Gucci now is a clearly segmented, businesslike collection with no pretense of being anything other than hip, immediately understandable clothes for a young global audience. The time for runway fantasia has passed here, so even though Giannini named her Spring show "Gucci Exotica," she made sure to balance realistic streetwear with the beach-babe bikinis, tropical prints, and filmy disco dresses—while, of course, underlining the vital bag news of the house: an up-sized, slouchier, hand-stitched "New Jackie," and a utilitarian backpack that transforms into a carryall.
Since her first collection, Giannini has always included a boyish suit with a narrow "Frida pant" somewhere along the line. In this show, it came to the fore as an unmissable Gucci signature. Topped with a mannish straw fedora, it opened the show in pale blue and then reappeared in heavy rotation with mini caftans in cobalt, aqua, khaki, and then purple. Another central plank of Gucci's identity is the neat deluxe leather jacket. This season it reappeared as python bikers and vests, marking a scene shift into safari suits and gold-zippered military-cum-cargo looks. As is the house tradition, the lights then went down and up again and out came the finale gowns in filmy bluish-green prints or draped jersey. It wasn't a season to lift fashion to places it's never been beforemore a careful ticking of all the Gucci boxes. These, after all, are risk-averse times.