Sunday, March 1, 2009

So bad it's awful...


I'd like to take you back a bit, back to February of 2006. At that time, a young up and coming creative director, who I don't even need to mention by name since it should be obvious, sent out her second major collection. In that collection, she had done a complete 180 from her first effort, sending out gaudy, glitzy, trashy disco inflected mini dresses and gowns. While the thinking behind that collection was actually in keeping with what the label had previously stood for, the elements were so poorly handled in both the design and styling that the final result couldn't have been more different. Two years later and she seems to have dug that very same grave for herself. While her efforts in the time between these two collections have been nothing short of mind numbingly boring and increasingly more predictable, she was smart to never, ever try her hand at sexy, glamorous clothes again. But if the new collection is anything to go by, she ain't so smart after all...

I doubt if you'll find anyone who can say they were surprised by the direction Frida Giannini went in for F/W 09.10. She basically just took her mens collection, added more glitter to it, and made the pants even tighter. That, my friends, is the genius of Giannini. She doesn't actually have to design two collections per season, she just has to fit them on two different types of bodies, and since male and female models' bodies are looking more and more alike as the first decade of the new millenium comes to a close, that really isn't too much work. Her boy and her girl are essentially the same person, and that person, unfortunately, is none too interesting. But, that's what Frida likes. She likes mindless youths who are more than happy to indulge in only the most mainstream of trends long after those trends have come and gone. So this season, Frida is giving us mid-80's nightclubbers. The shine of the clothes (and they were shi-ny) competed with the shine from the polished catwalk with spotlights reflecting off the surface (yet another area where she is far exceded by Tom Ford, set design). Very few of the clothes she showed would look anything but ridiculous worn before 8 pm; skintight leather leggings (the kind that girls have been obsessed with for a while now) were paired with micromini dresses in hideous overblown polka dots or stripes, cheap looking furs and sparkly lame blouses. Suits were comprised of cropped jackets paired with skintight pants in fabrics that only someone sipping a martini in Vegas circa 1963 should be wearing. Do not plan on looking good in these suits if you have anything that resembles an ass. For that matter, don't plan on looking good in most of these clothes if you have an ass, breasts or hips, translation; if you look like a woman, move on, cause Frida ain't dressing you. Her clothes skew younger and younger every season, and this fall, she's in friggin teenager territory. So if you've already gone through puberty and you don't gag yourself after eating, I really don't know what Giannini has to offer you. Seriously, who exactly is this Gucci customer she's dreamed up for herself? The hipster party girls who would actually want to wear this stuff (and I'm not counting celebs since they don't pay) likely can't afford the real thing, and the grown women who might go to Gucci for luxe fashion probably aren't interested in looking like Lady GaGa threw up on them. So who's left? Rich bitch trophy wives on Bravo reality series? Is that really the ideal Gucci woman nowadays?

But then there was eveningwear, or at least, the clothes that in Frida's head are eveningwear. What the real distinction is is beyond me since this all looks destined for an overhyped club that's clutching to the 80s revival thing that's going on. The eveningwear really just seemed like a cry for help to me. It's clear that poor Frida has a sequin abuse problem and does not know when to put the hot glue gun down. Dresses ran the gammut from short and sparkly to short and sparklier, with a hideously dumpy crystal covered jumpsuit thrown into the mix. It takes quite a lack of talent to make these models today look fat, but would you expect anything else from someone who cares less about creating flattering clothes and more about trying to prove to the world that she's a real designer? But the interesting thing is, for all of the effort she's put into trying to eradicate the memory of Tom Ford from the house, some of the clothes suggest that she was spending some time in the archives when nobody was looking. Specifically, she seemed to take a few elements from the F/W 97 collection, namely the sparkly crystal embroidered mini dresses and a one shouldered black jersey mini with a black patent leather band across the shoulder that looked an awful lot like a series of gowns that were suspended from patent leather harnesses in that 1997 collection. Besides the dresses and the unfortunate crystal covered garbage ba....jumpsuit....she also showed a few beaded tunicy/t shirt things over lurex leggings. I have no f-ing idea what those looks were about because, as with the jumpsuit, they made the models look fat and dumpy. It's like, if the Golden Girls were heading to Danceteria or Paradise Garage, that's sort of what you'd expect them to wear. All they need is a set of shoulder pads. The final look was definitely the best though, a silver and blue leopard print sequined skin tight pantsuit. I don't even have an insult for it, it speaks for itself. Now, besides the fact that this collection clearly displayed why Frida should never try to do sexy clothes (she just goes too far with everything), it also displayed how delusional some designers are when they discuss their collections. Supposedly, this collection was meant to convey a sense of dangerous, tough, seductive femininity. Call me crazy, but isn't that EXACTLY what Gucci was all about before this woman took over, and isn't that the very identity she has been making every effort to suppress for 3 years??? Did she just have her head planted firmy up her own ass while Tom Ford was creative director, or did she want to quash the identity he built at Gucci just so she could revive it years later when the time was right and she'd end up being on trend? (somehow I think the first theory is the more likely one. I just don't get manipulative genius from this woman). Whatever the case is, the fact that she attempted to tread the exact same territory (read: tough, slightly androgynous, highly sexualized and very glamorous) as someone who didn't exactly invent it, but who did write the handbook on it just proves that this woman should stick to what she knows...or whatever it is that she usually does. But the funniest thing that came out of the show notes is that the muse of this collection was, get this, Tina Chow. Tina, f***ing, Chow. Now, I'm sure a lot of people who didn't live to experience the 70's and 80's first hand won't know who Tina Chow was, and frankly I don't actually know how I do myself, but she was a renowned style icon who was known for her somewhat minimal, androgynous personal style and for having great taste in, and a large collection of vintage haute couture. Please, if someone sees the similarity between this collection and Ms. Chow's style, let me know. Seriously, just because you were inspired by early 80's disco doesn't mean you can pick any random style icon from that era and call them your muse, Frida!!! On top of all that though, this collection is pretty awful on a purely aesthetic level. In addition to looking so much like what young girls have already been wearing for a few years now, none of these clothes look remotely expensive. Oh sure, they're decked out in Swarovski, and those tacky shiny silks are probably very high quality, but the clothes look worlds apart from what the pricetag will look like. They look cheap.

In a way I feel bad for Giannini. She's in a terrible Catch 22 situation. On the one hand, when she does her usual work, picking up the breadcrumbs of old trends that other designers left for her, her work has nothing to do with the identity that's still associated with Gucci. And that identity is still stuck to the label like an albatross because to this day she hasn't established her own identity for the brand. Trendy and young just isn't an identity. Then on the other hand, both times where her work has come close to resembling what Gucci is all about it has sucked so thoroughly that all you can think is "don't even bother, dear". So really, what is there that can be done in a situation like that? The thing she does well (making Zara knockoffs) has nothing to do with the house she works for, and the thing she does terribly has everything to do with the house she works for. I think the only option is to put her out of her misery, thereby putting all of us out of ours.

All images from


JJ said...

PREACH!!! bitch needs to GO!

Anonymous said...

I really like you, Spike.

I don't usually read too many blogs because people who write them are not just my cup of tea, but you're one of those people who really feels fashion, I'm pretty sure, and I've met only two people like that... Nowadays it's fashionable liking fashion, but that's not your case, at all.

I'll pass here more times, although I don't understand each word (I'm not english...).


FashionAddict said...

I totally agree! I haven't liked her past 2 collections. Frida is a good designer but she hasn't been doing her best for a while. Visit my blog if you want.

Kim said...

although i don't think this collection is as bad as spring (which seriously made me gag), it's still quite horrid.

maybe frida meant china chow and not tina chow.

Spike said...

I actually have to agree with you on that Kim, based solely on the fact that this collection is closer in spirit to Gucci.

It's just handled so heavily.