Gucci Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Milan
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For next summer Frida Giannini is stripping things back. No Gucci overload with lots of big bags, embellishments or complicated high tech treatments. This was one of the most poised and restrained shows that the designer has done since she took the helm of the renowned Italian fashion house.

The collection had two central focal points. First and foremost the spotlight was on sleeves. They came in almost every alliteration known to man- kimono, flute, bishop, bell, and above all ruffled. Then there was Giannini’s color palette. Just like those statement sleeves, the hues were high impact. Models, their hair slicked back and parted in the center, showed up wearing head to toe ensembles cut in cobalt blue, fuchsia, azure, and citrus yellow.

To offset the power of these two sartorial choices, the designer kept the rest of her silhouettes streamlined. So a high-necked tunic top and easy full-leg pants would be cut in a grass green shade or a column dress would get a bit of beautiful volume via a cascade of gazar ruffles down the arms.

“I wanted to create this contrast between the big sleeves and the color,” said a jeans clad Giannini after her show; divulging that the portrait work of Richard Avedon and Gian Paolo Barbieri, from the late 60’s and early 70’s, had a major influence on her when she was creating the collection.

For those looking just at runway images of the show online, it is worth tracking down a live stream, or complete video of the collection. That is the only way to see how these somewhat minimalistic silhouettes got a bit of sex appeal. The abundance of sleeves made it possible for Giannini to play with cut away sides and exposed backs so that (although it doesn’t look like it from the front) these dresses had just the right amount of risqué.

The inclusion of a few looks cut in a snakeskin print or the real thing covered in a silk lamé jacquard, underlined the fact that Giannini had not forgone completely her love of the rock and roll aesthetic. But the evening looks, in monochrome black or white reinterpretations of the daywear, showed that sometimes the biggest sartorial statements are the understated ones.

- Jessica Michault

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