There’s something of sixties London in the pipeline right now, which probably means David Bailey is about to have another moment. Frida Giannini caught an early whiff of it with her latest collection of menswear for Gucci. Bailey’s classic portraits of the era have always helped nourish Giannini’s fantasies of London. There and then, London’s la dolce vita was mod. Here and now, on the Gucci catwalk, mod was embodied again by skinny, speedy boys in turtlenecks and drainpipes paired with hyper-tailored bum-freezers and shrunken peacoats, and topped off with the sort of fisherman’s cap John Lennon once favored. In fact, the cap-peacoat-and-black-leather-pants combo felt a little like something the Beatles would have worn in their Hamburg days.
But this was no mere retro-vision on Giannini’s part. Neoprene bonding mutated classics. The monochrome of mod was alleviated by creamy pastels lifted from the palette of rising young Canadian art star Kris Knight. They added a subtle energy, particularly in leather, to pieces like the powder-pink blazer and the pale blue military shirt. If the artificiality made you think of sugary pop, it also had a slightly fetishistic kink (maybe that’s a bullet a leather shirt will never really be able to dodge).
Back at the beginning of her reign at Gucci, Giannini showed a men’s collection that was fizzing with the fun of the ragazzi on Rome’s Via Veneto in its dolce heyday. Today’s outing may have been darker in tone—King Krule (neu-Morrissey) and Smiths (alt-Morrissey) on the soundtrack—but it was a reminder that Giannini still knows where the boys are.