Milan Fashion Week: Nothing to scare the horses at Gucci

  • @AlexanderFury

Something old, something new. That's the story of the opening day of Milan fashion week.

The old is Gucci, a name that immediately resonates with even those only the haziest peripheral connection with the fashion world. The new is Fausto Puglisi. So new, indeed, that many hardened fashion followers have no idea who he is, nor what he stands for.

Their respective autumn/winter 2014 collections reinforced those viewpoints. Puglisi was a bit all over the place, a collection that ricocheted from neo-Versace clunky gold and rhinestone globules of beading, through Tomasso Marinetti-style Futurist abstractions through to shades of Ettore Sottsass' Memphis and even Warhol in Statue of Liberty prints. With klieg lights in the background and searing colours clashing, this was a big, dumb parody of a fashion show. Nevertheless, it kind of hit its mark. Puglisi isn't subtle in his designs, nor his staging. However, he is assured of what he's doing. Which makes it sort of work.

Frida Giannini's collections always sort of work, too. This time, she looked back to the sixties, and to Jackie O, one of the most tired and trite of all inspirational figures. Gucci can claim more ownership than most: they have a bag, dubbed the "Jackie", because Ms Onnassis actually carried it. She bought it too, in the innocent times before multi-million dollar celebrity endorsement contracts.

This Gucci collection paid unofficial homage to her: that bag made a re-appearance, of course, brief coatdresses in mohair buttoning high at the neck, alongside slender Mod-ish trouser suits and kinky knee-high boots with horse-bit buckled toes, all in palette of pastels. Actually, there was nothing kinky about them. There may have been a nod to Belle de Jour but unlike Buñuel, Giannini's gloss had nothing subversive bubbling below the surface. Nothing to scar the horses, nor her horse-bit buying clientele.