The running joke for several seasons now among some of our Gucci sources has been "wait till cruise" or "don't worry, cruise is going to be great;" now keep in mind they've been saying this even after cruise and you get some idea just how people in the know have felt about Frida Giannini's ready to wear skills.
Frida has top notch accessories credentials, no doubt about it, and your editor has a few fine pairs of shoes and one beloved bag that are a testament to the house's continued success in that arena. But let's face it, Frida's ready to wear collections have been lacking. Unfocused, derivative, confusing, and not of the moment are just a few descriptors.
But her Spring 2009 collection seems to be the "cruise" show we've all been waiting for. It maintained a kind of classic Gucci fluidity while heightening the experience with a kind of edited polish we hadn't yet seen from Giannini. The color palette is immensely appealing with its regal purples and of course perfect pool blues, improved not only by the clothing but with the makeup's aqua eyes. Blousey dresses, caftans, a few crisp separates in a safari theme (that miraculously didn't seem stale) and plenty of well styled accessories all made for her best collection to date.
The really tragic thing is that it's happening just as CEO Mark Lee is stepping down. Italian Machiavellian schemes are surely in play as American executives have been dropping like flies at the house for some time. But whose power play is it?