Like so many others this season, Frida Giannini opened her show with white—a taut, multi-strapped dress that put Gucci on a glam, athletic, almost sci-fi path that she kept to with energy and conviction. It was a modernist streak she's avoided in the past, preferring to take her girl into the realms of hippie and disco, but the change of direction gave the show a turbo-charged shot of adrenaline, ranking it as the best Giannini has done yet.
The program notes said she had started off thinking about a little black dress, but for some reason that didn't appear until the midsection. What came first was actually better: jackets and high-waisted stretch leggings, inset with sections of sports mesh and lashed through the torso and outside leg with crisscross lacings of rubber piping, bristling with silver hardware. Motocross and minimized parachute jackets and crocodile bikers all came out—the sort of thing a Gucci girl loves. As it developed, Giannini stepped it up, laying on more harnesses, opening the backs of blazers to reveal bare skin, adding more metal, more sparkle—the kind of Gucci-glamour sensationalism that had somehow slipped out the door in the past few years.
Midway came a drop in speed when the show took a detour around ikat print—an odd thing to add, and probably a hedge against losing the customer who has gone for the folkloric side of Gucci recently. Still, Giannini got back on track when the color disappeared and the pattern of the ikat was transformed into silvery needle-sharp embroidery on short black body-dresses. At the end came a robot-woman dress that was totally encased in a tubular web of metallic and crystal beading—as rock-star performance-ready as anything that's been shown so far this season. It had absolutely nothing to do with the drifty, bucolic, romantic themes that are wafting up and down other runways, but you could see exactly who'll want it.