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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Gucci: Tashkent Training Chic

Godfrey Deeny
September 27th, 2009 @ 00:08 AM - Milan

Uzbekistan, perhaps not everyone’s first thought when it comes to inspiration for a hip Italian fashion brand, underpinned a powerful Spring 2010 collection from Gucci that, at its kernel, was all about combining sexy athleticism with the brand’s unique hardware.

The collection's starting point was the Central Asia Silk Road and Tashkent, market place and capital of Uzbekistan, from which a local carpet pattern inspired Gucci’s hard-edged catwalk and an equally hard-edged invitation to the show Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26.

Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini infused the folkloric geometrics of the ikat, the woven and patterned silk fabric of the Uzbek region, into some exceptional cocktail dresses where the patterns were re-imagined as posh punk safety pins, zips or tensile-like struts of stretch fabric.

“It’s a partnership of tailoring together with lots of new techniques and fabrics that come in the extreme sports, stuff I never did,” joked Giannini backstage.

The heart of the matter was athletic chic, best summed up in the opening all white cocktail dress, a spider web of fabric straps, the sort some gold-winning athlete of the future would don when entering an Olympian hall of fame.

Many designers have been mixing sport and style this season, like Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler in New York, but Giannini gave these clothes a very specific Gucci DNA thanks to her brainy use of hardware, like buckles, catches or straps that kept the sexy quotient red hot. Who would have thought a climber’s belt strap would be reinterpreted in leotards or the shoulder strap of a cocktail dress? Giannini did, and they both looked very of the moment.

Giannini’s other smart ploys were fairly radical reinterpretations of the "little black dress," sending out that all-time fashion favorite with Gucci high-tech metals that created the Tashkent geometric patterns again.

And, where before this designer has finished previous shows with somewhat over fussy finales, her two simple final black columns, again with graphic hardware, were the perfect finish.

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