Motherhood has transformed Frida Giannini. She glowed when she took her bow today. And she looked taller.The first outfit on the catwalk—a floral print tee, matching leggings, and a backpack—sent a message mixed enough to suggest that Gucci itself had taken an equally transformative turn: younger, clubbier, more athletic. First impressions are usually quite accurate. The collection that followed was a new direction for the label.
With new life in her household, Giannini unsurprisingly claimed she was hungry for something more dynamic. T-shirts replaced shirts; a shirt jacket was the casual alternative for a blazer. Gucci's horsey heritage echoed in riding pants hybridized into ribbed-cuff trackies. And fabrics turned tech. "It's impossible," said the fabric people when Giannini came to them with her ideas for spring. All those techno materials seemed the antithesis of the artisanal intricacy that the designer has so artfully exercised for the brand over the past few years. But she eventually got all the bonding and lasering she wanted. Context was critical: The result was probably more striking because it came from a company whose reputation is scarcely based on high-performance outerwear. But the sleek gloss of a bonded jacket in olive green leather made an appropriate top for a T-shirt and a pair of those track pants. Even better: the tan blouson with the citron lining, and the anorak in a deep lilac.
Daft Punk's new album was on the soundtrack—real instruments called into the service of synthetic sounds—and that sparked an inevitable comparison with Giannini's collection, where technology had been bent to a strikingly streamlined physicality. Where once she would have toyed with jet-set decadence, she was now endorsing health and fitness. Ah, the power of motherhood.
There was another interesting comparison to be made. The other big story in the collection was the complex, slightly gothic floral print. Pair that with the techy sportswear and you've got yourself a telling parallel with Kim Jones' last collection for Louis Vuitton, where the Chapman Brothers contributed a twisted botanical print. Attention must be paid when two of the world's biggest luxury labels take such a quirky tack on the demands of the rapidly evolving global menswear market.