The Gucci archive unfolds like a lotus for Frida Giannini. Obviously, she was aware of the baiadera stripes that evoke a heady period in the label's history, but a recent auction produced a bag in a color combination that she'd never seen before, and that set her imagination winging away to Pantone Land. Clement Chabernaud opened the show in a leaf green suit and closed it in a silky matte black tux, and those two poles encompassed a "chromatic rush," as the show notes so accurately described it. If the rush peaked in a blaze of crimson and orange (particularly a double-breasted jacket in raffia and a half-belted canvas coat that had the color intensity that comes from overdyeing), it smoothed into a pleasurable buzz of blues that brought to mind a Mediterranean summer. Which was exactly what Giannini intended. When she showed white patent jackets, she imagined them gracing a yacht.

The razor-sharp precision of her vision means that the Gucci ideal of la dolce vita is never far away. And the spirit of its global ambassador Marcello Mastroianni hung over the trim jackets, the tapered, cuffed, slightly cropped pants, the knit polos, and the white worn with everything. The deal was sealed with classic Gucci snaffle bit loafers, enjoying their 60th anniversary this year. The consummate polish and lightness of this collection made an interesting contrast with one of Giannini's earlier expeditions down the Via Veneto for Spring 2007. You want to know how far she's come? Look no further.