Sexy and practical: can Gucci revive fashion's fortunes?



The twice-yearly fashion shows opened in Milan yesterday with a bright and vital collection from the luxury label Gucci.

In the wake of poor results across the sector and a forecast 5.6 per cent drop in revenues among the high-end Italian labels, creative director Frida Giannini will be hoping her spring 2013 offering will appeal especially to wealthy clients across the Far East and in developing markets such as India.

After flirting with Art Deco and an opulent gothic look in recent seasons, she returned to the label's strong point: slick and sexy modern elegance, with a touch of minimalism and a glamorous early Seventies feel.

Pared-down silk and crepe tunics were worn over slim-fitting kick flares; some were collarless, some high-necked and some adorned with over-sized waterfall frills that snaked around the body, across the yoke and spiralled down long sleeves, framing otherwise plain coats and column dresses.

"These are portraits of aristocratic women," Giannini explained. "The inspiration started with Richard Avedon and Gian Paolo Barbieri's photographs of their female icons."

Frilled and bell sleeves, dropped shoulders and cocoon coats were classically soft and feminine, but Giannini's use of bold, block colours, with graphic shades of hot pink, turquoise and chartreuse all in the mix, ensured that her vision remained punchy rather than overly pretty.

Clean lines and sparse decoration on belted tunics recalled the tailoring of the late Sixties and early Seventies, while a slim silhouette spoke of the house's reputation for womanliness and sensuality. The label became synonymous with high-octane sex and glamour under Tom Ford's directorship in the Nineties and, while Giannini's clothes are every bit as alluring – with cutaway backs and key-hole detailing on tunics and gowns revealing tantalising flashes of skin in an otherwise demure collection – hers is an aesthetic that combines sex appeal with practicality.

There was plenty of choice for heiresses and film stars among the many full-length, potential red-carpet gowns, but there were luxurious separates too: silk coats and shifts that were printed with enlarged sea anemone fronds taken from Japanese wallpaper, and a series of double-breasted and belted jackets worn with matching skirts embossed with a snakeskin print, made from paper fibres and silk jacquard, and so intricate that they looked like real python. The house's signature horsebit came on structured bags which matched the vivid outfits.

Milan will host almost 70 shows in the next five days, with Prada, Versace and Armani all on the schedule.

There was a brief spat earlier this week when Roberto Cavalli decried the organising body Camera Moda for changing Giorgio Armani's Monday slot to Sunday night, leaving Cavalli the only major name showing on the last day of the event. "Do I stay on the final day, running the risk that some foreign journalists will forego my show," he wrote on his blog, "or should I overlap with some of the smaller brands?"

There have been complaints in the past that Milan's biggest labels have squeezed time slots for less established, designers, but such is the strength of those powerhouses that most foreign press and buyers attend for their names alone.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower