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GucciSpring Summer 2015 Milan

Runway Review
9/17/2014 TeamFWP

The first trend to emerge on the opening day of Milan fashion week was being anti-trend. At least that was the contrary message from the Gucci catwalk as the brand cited "dressing to please herself" and a "defiance to seasonal conventions" as part of the mission statement for its customer next summer.

This was a show that put wardrobe favourites before experimental pieces. To wit, the item that appeared most frequently on the catwalk was a pair of cropped-to-the-calf, faded wide-leg jeans featuring chunky gold nautical buttons. Worn with a silk neckscarf, a delicate striped knit, a soft suede shoulder bag with a chunky canvas strap and a low ponytail, the look was simple, sophisticated and luxurious.

The vintage, nautical mood continued with A-line suede skirts that featured gold sailor buttons and were identifiably Gucci. Suede trench dresses that fell just above the knee were nipped in at the waist, while jackets were boxy and in step with the denim jackets that appeared on the London catwalks earlier in the week.

The result felt right in the current fashion climate, which riffs on that most novel of ideas – dressing for real life. Less successful, though, was the evening wear. Embroidered with lace-up details, chiffon and fur vests, it was an altogether fussier proposition.

The creative director, Frida Giannini, who is about to celebrate her 10th anniversary as artistic boss at the brand, took her bow in the aforementioned cropped jeans and embroidered blouse. By now Giannini has worked out what Gucci should mean within the luxury fashion context. Putting sophistication and elegance, rather than cutting-edge trends, on the agenda, is clearly the formula that she and her bosses think will secure the brand's future amid fierce competition.

More evidence of strategic brand-building came with the launch of Gucci Cosmetics, which was debuted on Wednesday's catwalk, albeit in a low-key way with models looking simple rather than "done". To highlight the launch, the face of Gucci Cosmetics (and granddaughter of Grace Kelly) Charlotte Casiraghi sat alongside Kate Moss in the front row. The brand's focus on make-up is considered. For most, a suede trench dress with a four-figure price tag will be out of reach, but a lipstick – particularly one that comes with the glamorous backstory of Gucci – is both appealing and affordable. The timing of the launch makes tactical sense, as the brand experiences considerable financial pressure. The most recent reports testify to a slowdown in Gucci's performance, with sales falling by 2.1%. Analysts have suggested that China has fallen out of love with logos and mega brands and that the wider trend is towards newer niche brands.

But the fashion overlords at Kering, parent company of Gucci, are not about to stand by and let this historic luxury house – and one that accounts for more than half of the conglomerate's market value – decline. One course of action to support its flagship label has been to raise prices and tighten distribution to elevate its appeal. This latest beauty launch seeks to underpin that but from the opposite – more mass market – approach.

View Runway
9/17/2014 TeamFWP

The first trend to emerge on the opening day of Milan fashion week was being anti-trend. At least that was the contrary message from the Gucci catwalk as the brand cited "dressing to please herself" and a "defiance to seasonal conventions" as part of the mission statement for its customer next summer.

This was a show that put wardrobe favourites before experimental pieces. To wit, the item that appeared most frequently on the catwalk was a pair of cropped-to-the-calf, faded wide-leg jeans featuring chunky gold nautical buttons. Worn with a silk neckscarf, a delicate striped knit, a soft suede shoulder bag with a chunky canvas strap and a low ponytail, the look was simple, sophisticated and luxurious.

The vintage, nautical mood continued with A-line suede skirts that featured gold sailor buttons and were identifiably Gucci. Suede trench dresses that fell just above the knee were nipped in at the waist, while jackets were boxy and in step with the denim jackets that appeared on the London catwalks earlier in the week.

The result felt right in the current fashion climate, which riffs on that most novel of ideas – dressing for real life. Less successful, though, was the evening wear. Embroidered with lace-up details, chiffon and fur vests, it was an altogether fussier proposition.

The creative director, Frida Giannini, who is about to celebrate her 10th anniversary as artistic boss at the brand, took her bow in the aforementioned cropped jeans and embroidered blouse. By now Giannini has worked out what Gucci should mean within the luxury fashion context. Putting sophistication and elegance, rather than cutting-edge trends, on the agenda, is clearly the formula that she and her bosses think will secure the brand's future amid fierce competition.

More evidence of strategic brand-building came with the launch of Gucci Cosmetics, which was debuted on Wednesday's catwalk, albeit in a low-key way with models looking simple rather than "done". To highlight the launch, the face of Gucci Cosmetics (and granddaughter of Grace Kelly) Charlotte Casiraghi sat alongside Kate Moss in the front row. The brand's focus on make-up is considered. For most, a suede trench dress with a four-figure price tag will be out of reach, but a lipstick – particularly one that comes with the glamorous backstory of Gucci – is both appealing and affordable. The timing of the launch makes tactical sense, as the brand experiences considerable financial pressure. The most recent reports testify to a slowdown in Gucci's performance, with sales falling by 2.1%. Analysts have suggested that China has fallen out of love with logos and mega brands and that the wider trend is towards newer niche brands.

But the fashion overlords at Kering, parent company of Gucci, are not about to stand by and let this historic luxury house – and one that accounts for more than half of the conglomerate's market value – decline. One course of action to support its flagship label has been to raise prices and tighten distribution to elevate its appeal. This latest beauty launch seeks to underpin that but from the opposite – more mass market – approach.


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