Gucci’s Freida Giannini seems to be marching to her own tune this season. As every other catwalk goes sportswear heavy, she offered up old school dapper tailoring. Slim jackets (in a healthy mix of double and single breasted cuts) and form-fitting ankle crop trousers arrived in a sea of summertime tones, including a pop of grass green to open the show. If her shapes were a Milan anomaly, her rainbow colour selection was bang on the zeitgeist. Head-to-toe blocking - also seen at Jil Sander and Trussardi - was big news, with models sporting suits, striped ties and accessories in matching crisp cocktail hues.
Gucci collections are always a festival of precision and plushness, but this showcase had an even slicker feel than usual. The brand’s currents plans to push sales in America – a willing market for luxurious no-surprises dressing – were reflected in the moneyed looks on show. From the Rudolph Valentino movie star flat-hair to the run of red, white and blue dyes in the middle section looks, this collection knew its target market. Preppy and peppy pieces gelled together seamlessly, including a barrage of yacht-ready white trousers and golf-appropriate polos, all the stalwarts of upper class waspy dressing.
To add an injection of Italian spirit and sex to the otherwise clean cut looks, Giannini threw in a welcome splash of retro silky pattern, an art deco reworking of the famous Gucci flora print. Other classic Gucci go-tos in the collection included the popular horse-bit loafers, sported by every model on show.
There were no surprises in this collection. Every cuff and ever collar was perfectly considered, perfectly arranged and perfectly worn. Refined to the point of repetitiousness. While it looked terribly handsome and will certainly sell well, it lacked the spirit or drive of some of the other Italian stalwarts on show. Versace had its signature outlandish extravagance, Trussardi its covetable daywear, and Prada its conceptual minimalism - what did Gucci bring to the table? As other houses modernise, adapt and push boundaries the Gucci mantra of commerical poise and polish threatens to look tired. Watch out Giannini the Gucci man doesn’t enjoy second place.