For A/W 2011, Giannini saw no reason to change course one bit. Her man has a look, and she sticks to it.
We never expected Frida Giannini's Gucci to wade into this season's emerging aesthetic debate about the new masculinity. That's not what her Gucci is all about - indeed, for the past fifteen years the only sexual ambiguity hanging about the Gucci man has been 'where' and 'when'. And what he's going to wear after doing the deed, of course.
For A/W 2011, Giannini saw no reason to change course one bit. Her man has a look, and she sticks to it. Hence, we got, once again, the Giannini Gucci classics: a touch of the seventies, some butched-up shearlings, a clutch of man-bags and a few too many luxury skins. This time, ostrich puckered bombers and trenches, and mongolian lamb was whipped up into a frothy bon-bon of an overcoat - it seemed an extreme version of the shearlings seen elsewhere in the collection, reversed so the fluff softened the silhouette. The colour palette was interesting: cosmetic-hued shades of blush-pink, frosted grey and kohl, the latter sometimes juxtaposed with a sharp teal, especially effective in cuddly mohair sweaters (more of that touchy-feely fluffiness) pulled over neat shirts and ties.
That's not to say Giannini didn't interact with the ideas we've seen emerging from Milan. Those sloping, too-wide shoulders we've seen all over the shop popped up and out, double-breasted crombie coats in fine wool with velvet collars slouching off the clavicles. They were fantastic - and after all, winter is always about a great coat - but generally the wider shoulder was padded to a late-seventies early-eighties line, in neat single-breasted suits and a handful of evening jackets. Those are familiar stomping-ground for Giannini, too. And that was the overpowering, underwhelming feeling about the vast majority of this collection - not only that we'd seen it before, but that we'd bought it, worn it and already grown tired of it. There's nothing wrong with consistency, but it needs to be fed with new ideas or else it atrophies.
This Gucci collection was perfectly competent, but it all felt reeled off by rote. In a season where it felt like so much of Milan was forging ahead into brave new territory, Giannini was undoubtedly resting on her laurels. Pity.