Gucci feels the pressure as Burberry finds romance

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The Independent Online

Ever since Tom Ford's dramatic resignation from Gucci last year, his successor, Alessandra Facchinetti, has had the tough task of recapturing the same energy that made the luxury goods brand the definitive fashion label of the Nineties.

And with the pressure still on the 32-year-old designer, presenting her second women's wear collection for Gucci as part of the autumn/winter 2005 Italian collections, Ford proved that he is indeed a hard act to follow.

To the sound of a military drum roll, Facchinetti opened with a series of inky blue taffeta jackets with voluminous sleeves, chubby jackets of Mongolian lamb or crocodile skin, and midnight blue military-inspired coats embellished with ornate black embroidery. Facchinetti's passion for detail worked well when it appeared as officer's stripes and trims on coats at collar and cuff or decorative caviar beading. But elsewhere it threatened to swamp, even though it proved to be an unconvincing distraction from Facchinetti's failure to come up with any new silhouettes.

Elongated cigarette pants that gently flared over killer stilettos, nipped- in jackets with collars that framed the face and clingy cocktail dresses were all classic Tom Ford as opposed to Facchinetti's vision of a new Gucci.

It was a different story over at Burberry Prorsum where Christopher Bailey continued to show how to take a luxury goods brand's heritage and make it modern. In Bailey's hands, Burberry's signature trench coat was modernised in gabardine flannel twill with a pleated kilt skirt while Burberry's military heritage was hinted at in navy Great coats decorated with brass buttons and epaulettes in a collection that had a much-needed injection of romance.