Was it the presence of Charlotte Casiraghi, Gucci’s equestrian ambassador, sitting front row with a snakeskin-covered Kate Moss, which made the show on the opening day of the Milan season seem rather frisky?
“Crazy Girl” went the soundtrack, while out came the models in suede outfits with a hint of the Seventies, and then denim, partnering with Glitter Gulch sparkles and patchworks of hairy furs from fox to goat.
“And Asia!” said designer Frida Giannini backstage, pointing to the flowers patterning her silk top. Perhaps that was a nod to the presence of Chinese actress Yang Mi in the audience, or to François-Henri Pinault, who heads Gucci’s luxury group and who explained how strategy for high-end sales in China cannot follow the same path as in America and Europe.
Although there were a few dull passages in Gucci’s spring/summer 2015 collection, when the show seemed focused on product, it was mostly well mixed. Simpler tailored blouses dosed down the hippie-de-luxe glamour and the cute dresses printed with Chinese flowers or Japanese cranes that melded seamlessly into eveningwear. There was none of Frida’s favourite and familiar black. The after-dark clothes were therefore less red carpet and more real world.
What seemed fresh this season was the casual luxury that should be the essence of Gucci. And also the brand’s heartland: accessories. There were belts circling twice around the waist, tough Seventies-style bags and, on the cropped denim culottes, gold naval buttons, strategically placed just below the navel.
Embellishment did not end with the buttons. There were also recurring examples of military frogging, which gave a hard edge to glamour.
A significant fashion story was colour – the Seventies’ bordeaux, rust and orange that switched later to blue and green. The way the colours were shaded, especially for the fur, was subtle.
The one mystery is why Gucci, which launched a beauty line this season and was responsible for the luscious lips of Charlotte Casiraghi, does not put more focus on one of its existing and iconic products: shoes. There were ginger suede boots, orange bootees and green sandals with thick heels, but nothing approaching the instantly recognisable bar-and-bit shoes that were the origin of Gucci’s fame.