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Gucci's glittering 70s glamour

It may have been floaty flowers last season, but Gucci brought back a touch rock n' roll to it.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 16:04 IST

It may have been floaty flowers last season, but Gucci's Frida Giannini brought back a touch of designer Tom Ford for next winter with a short-and-sexy 70s-inspired collection that resurrected the glam rock era.

Giannini last month became the first designer since Ford to hold the full creative reins at Gucci, after John Ray's departure handed her control of menswear and ended a period of split creativity for the luxury house.

Her first womenswear collection, presented last September, met with mixed reviews, but Giannini's statement gold-and-glitter show on Wednesday finished to thundering applause from buyers and the fashion press -- a boon for French parent PPR for whom Gucci is the driver of luxury sales.

"Frida is able to capture the Gucci spirit and to translate it," Gucci Group head Robert Polet said before the show.

"She's the right person, in the right job, at the right time. In life, it's good to focus."

To the tune of "Evil Woman", models strutted out on a disco-lit catwalk in liquid gold halter-neck minidresses, fluid little v-fronted numbers and androgynous white trouser suits with waspish high waists, worn over metallic platform pumps.

For the rock'n'roll Gucci fan, there were lizard and crocodile biker jackets or fluid tiger-striped dresses in purples and pinks worn with coloured tights, while the diva buyer would have fallen for the belted, floor-length mink coats.

"The 70s are very important to me and very important for the Gucci brand, for our archives and for the celebrities we had then -- Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress," Giannini said after the show, wearing one of her own flowing bell-sleeved minidresses.

"Spring/Summer was more romantic, this is more glam rock. I think it is an evolution of the same woman."

Giannini began with leather group Fendi in 1997 and went on to become head of accessories for Gucci -- it was on the strengh of her Flora collection, inspired by a Grace Kelly scarf, that she was named to womenswear last year.

For next winter, the designer played on her strengths with bold accessories including metallic clutch bags, cuff bracelets, gold chainmail bandanas and platform boots. Gucci's accessories are its top selling items and a boost for group sales.

Red carpet items included flowing maxi wrap dresses and -- for those pre-Oscar parties -- sexy v-fronted minidresses worn with metallic belts and matching tights.

"It was a really strong show, with a great fierceness to it," said Ingrid Sischy, editor-in-chief of Interview magazine.

"There has been an acknowledgement from the beginning of what Tom Ford did, but this was also very Frida."

Gucci, still rebuilding the brand after the departure of Ford, is set to relaunch its store concept this year with the opening of three new Asian flagship shops likely to break with the current line of black lacquered minimalism.

Earlier on Wednesday, Giorgio Armani turned out a collection of preppy chic for his younger Emporio Armani line, sending out models in pretty puff and ruffled skirts worn with flat ballerina shoes and cinched jackets.

Fur hats -- as worn by Lara in the 1965 film "Doctor Zhivago" -- stole the show, along with sleeveless cocktail dresses gathered at the waist in dazzling lilac and purple.

Milan fashion week continues on Thursday with a line-up that includes Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry Prorsum and celebrity favourite Alessandro dell'Acqua.