Gucci is celebrating its 90th birthday in Florence next week with a blowout that will mark the opening of the new Gucci Museo there. The Italian house was born in 1921, but backstage, designer Frida Giannini insisted that the Art Deco motifs she showed off on the runway today were pure coincidence. "I like the architectural shapes, especially the New York skyscrapers of the period," she said. Chance or not, Giannini's Chrysler building flapper numbers put her at the forefront of Spring's Jazz Age revival. New York designers beat her to the 1920's theme last week, but the graphic quality of the black, white, and bronze color-blockings and embroideries gave her dresses an anti-retro appeal. They'll have legs on the red carpet and, you imagine, in real life, too, where their short lengths and streamlined, away-from-the-body shapes will make them go-to favorites come party time.

On the tailoring side, Giannini hewed to fairly androgynous lines. Jackets were short and boxy and topped high-waisted pants with front pleats or deep tuxedo stripes down the sides. If there was nothing twenties-ish about the silhouettes, the era informed the jackets' geometric designs and their Deco buttons and fastenings. The pieces that resonated were the ones that put Gucci's leather experts to the test, like a black and gold leather shift dress laser-cut so minutely that it resembled eyelash fringe, or a fitted T-shirt stitched together from strips of python to look like zebra stripes. The equestrian scarf print on a pair of trousers and the hem of a drop-waist skirt also stood out. Elsewhere, mismatched prints got too complicated, and a sidetrack into harem pants would have been better avoided. Still, the evening clothes in particular will ensure that Gucci's 91st year, like so many before it, is a success.