Guccio Gucci founded his eponymous house as a saddlery in 1906 - therefore, it was natural for Frida Giannini to use this as the jumping-off point for an excursion into sport for S/S 2010. Natural, yes, but hardly straighforward, as Giannini took hi-tech high-performance sports clothing, rather than the equestrian trappings of the tack-box, and gave it a deluxe spin. The opening outfits in bright tighty-whites were cut and strapped to within an inch of their suctioned curves, the first winding like so many Nike swooshes around the figure, leaving slits and slats of flesh exposed. Further versions expanded on this, slicing segments out to insert panels of aertex (a mini-trend in itself) and buckling tight against the body with silver hardwear like modern fencing uniforms. Buckles indeed bristled over everything - lashed with twine like climbing Caribbeaners, jangling around waists and forming concentric patterns across chest and ribs. Sometimes the metalwork was so encrusted it acted like an exoskeleton - check the silver-outlined ribcage on a floor-length jersey gown, or a little black hardware-smothered dress that just begs the wearer to defy airport security. Naturally, all that buckling became a little fetishistic, especially when combined, in strict doublet-like jackets, with corset-lacing and a hint of leather over bare flesh, fusing sportwear with fisting sling and even a whiff of medical trusses. The colour palette was controlled - the opening white outfits segued into grey, with flashes of safety orange, while the only pattern came from unexpected ikat prints on short dresses or silk anoraks. Although strong, distinctive and directional (the high street is churning out copies as we speak) the collection felt a little one-note - those buckles were pretty much all we got. It would have been nice to see a few more of Giannini's expertly chopped-up frocks without the jangling snaffles, or perhaps we just needed tighter editing of the pieces she did offer. Her slick vision would have been all the stronger for it.
The collection felt a little one-note - those buckles were pretty much all we got.