Last season, Frida Giannini scored a smash hit with a Gucci collection dedicated to the louche, sexy Saint Laurent seventies. For Autumn/Winter, she figured we could do with a dose of the same. After all, we can't really wear amethyst satin safari-suits in winter, can we? At least, that's the fashion world's point of view.
Giannini's latest collection may have picked up on the same decade as her central theme, but it trod very different ground. This time, the inspiration wasn't YSL's safari chic but his much-lambasted Forties collection - Giannini cited the Eyes of Laura Mars rather than the eyes of Yves Saint Laurent as her inspiration, but we knew what reference-books she was digging through when the first looks came out, all primary-hued fox chubbies, slinky chiffon frocks and wide-shouldered suiting. The latter of course provided the template for the silhouette of the eighties, and there was a touch of that decade's opulence in some of Giannini's more exuberant exits - a cranberry tie-necked leather shirt dress, for instance, or an emerald python skirt and matching fox jacket with slicked-back Robert Palmer Girl hair and sunglasses as big as a Maserati windscreen.
That maybe gives a hint of the glamour that was omnipotent in Giannini's latest offering, from fur-wrapped suits to the sheer chiffon evening dresses, all coloured in the vibrant, saturated hues of a Guy Bourdin photograph. Those colours actually bear more discussion - they were eye popping, confidently mixed and utterly stunning. A tobacco-yellow wool coat with grey fox and powder-pink boxy handbag; an olive drab dress worn with rich chocolate boots and a fluttering teal scarf; or a purple mohair coat tossed over a sulphur fur gilt, with lilac trousers and a tomato fedora topping the whole thing. If that sounds like a jarring, clashing cacophony of colour, you couldn't be more wrong. For some reason, the juxtapositions of those lurid hues worked wonders.
This collection was also a clever nod to Gucci's past, namely Tom Ford's own homages to Studio 54's patron Saint (Laurent). If there was one criticism of Giannini's, it was that it was very very Saint Laurent, but didn't seem overtly Gucci. Bar a few double-G's dotted on bag-clasps, this could have been one of Yves' seventies collections revived in its entirety. But in fashion terms that's really more of a compliment than a criticism - it was certainly wonderful to see it all again.