Gucci Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 Milan

“Sport, sport in a luxury way,” said a radiant Frida Giannini after her show as she turned to embrace Blake Lively.  The young actress was rocking a butterscotch leather crisscross halter-top dress, her golden locks blending with the designer’s as the two posed for photographs. And in a flash it was easy to see Lively as the living embodiment of a show that focused on a relaxed yet sexy sportswear style.

And it would take someone as young and as fit as Lively to pull off a good portion of this collection.

It is understandable that Giannini would be drawn to clothing that is forgiving this season - elastic waist track pants, maxi tops, fluid plisse silk jumpsuits and après sport caftan-esque dresses- seeing as she recently had her first baby. But she should be given sartorial points for not letting the loose looks stray too far away from the sensual DNA of the Gucci brand.

Playing with transparency and exposed skin, the designer was able to inject some sex into this roomy show. Strappy sheer bra tops were worn with plunging neckline dresses, that featured abstract floral prints inspired by the Art Nouveau artist Erte.  Mesh, perforated suede and semi sheer silks were used as inserts on the backs of voluminous tops, the fluid hem on beaded evening dresses or even cut into cropped tapered pants. And when the boldly patterned pieces were opaque, that was when the designer sliced them up. Slotting in a high slit up the front of a dress, cutting an opening down the arms of a blouson top, or crafting a skirt from front and back panels with only ties at the side to keep it fitted to the body.

Giannini’s love of the 1970s could be felt in the color palette that had gilded leathers, shimmering jacquards and crunchy beading in shades of apricot, plum, and petrole. Add to that a few long fringe handbags and the retro vibe was complete.

But if this show represents an update on the last days of Disco, then let the music play on.

- Jessica Michault