The show’s invitation was a clue – the luxuriously heavy black card embossed with deep plum velvety leaves. Gucci was about to bring the drama: deluxe drama, of course.
Creative Director Frida Giannini describes the collection as ‘modern-day romanticism, a dramatic sensuality, a dark glamour…’ And the show opened with head-to-toe black: a chiffon blouse and glossy velvet maxi skirt, were teamed with a boxy military jacket, slung around the shoulders, before delivering a series of black-on-black outfits featuring capes, billowing chiffon blouses, leather pleated trousers or fitted equestrian jodphurs with riding boots.
Gucci’s long-term make up guru Pat McGrath hit the nail on the head with her feel for the show ‘dark, gothic, romance.. with just a hint of [the painter] Rosetti’ because this was a Pre-Raphaelite fairy tale set deep in a forest – the pale, Ophelia-like models dressing both as cape-wearing princes and ethereal maidens in billowing gowns.
The palette turned rich and deep; with velvet and jacquard fabrics in the moody shades of olive, plum and midnight blue that are starting to emerge as the It colours for next season. The heavier velvet pieces; chic pleated trousers, fitted jackets, and pencil skirts were perfectly offset by the very Frida/very Florence Welch, puff-sleeved high-necked chiffon and lace blouses, alongside ladylike ruffled dresses; what Gucci calls ‘fearless femininity’
And then, the eveningwear – light as air ruffled black chiffon halterneck gowns were embossed with leaves, feathers and flowers in bright autumnal golds, mossy greens or sky blue, tumbling out behind the leggy models. The patterns were repeated on the hems of loose pyjama trouser suits – that new eveningwear staple shows no sign of quitting the catwalk just yet.
The chiffon gowns switched from boho patterns to movie star glamour for the show-stopping finale, with pleated floor-length black gowns twinkling with coloured sequins in plum, midnight blue or forest green. Long sheer billowing sleeves felt like a fresh new take on awards show elegance. And if Giannini was trying to seduce this year’s Oscar contenders into wearing Gucci on the ultimate red carpet next weekend, she’s surely succeeded. (Although whether anyone but Florence Welch could carry off the bottle green velvet, off the shoulder, long sleeved Maid Marian-style maxi dress remains to be seen).
And finally, let’s not forget Giannini started out at Gucci (under Tom Ford) designing the label’s leather goods. Business reports confirmed this week that Gucci's profits have been boosted by the brand's higher price points for its bags, up 30% thanks to the use of luxury skins like python. Next season it’s all about croc, with sexy clutches and the label’s signature saddle-bags in the snappy skins. But there were also beautiful (and roomy) totes in ornate jacquard patterns.
For Team Grazia out here in Milan though, the talk was all about another Gucci accessory. The key obsession for next Autumn is already the tall boot, and Gucci's are now top of our wishlists. A sexy take on the house’s traditional riding boot; the styles were either calf-tight in black croc with a pointy toe, or in glossy calf skin with lacing detailing and a sharp little heel. Worn with pencil skirts, floaty maxis, or over trousers, the tall boot is set to be every stylish girl’s big first purchase of next season. Get your name on Gucci's waiting list now.