The worst review a designer can ever receive is a comparison of their luxury brand to something that can easily be on carried on the shelves of fast-fashion stores such as Zara and H&M. That review is exactly what Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini received of her spring 2009 collection for the luxury label. Fashion critics at Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily and New York Times’ Cathy Horyn gave Giannini kudos for being able to “sell, sell, sell” by sending models down the runway completely accessorized, however, the pieces she sent to the runway were nothing stellar or groundbreaking, the decried. The Wall Street Journal said that:
Many of the suits in the show — skinny pants cropped above the ankle with well-tailored jackets in vibrant greens and blues — could easily hit the shelves of Zara and H&M months before they get to Gucci’s boutiques. At first glance, there was nothing much about either the fabrics or silhouettes of the clothes that would make them stand out from fast-fashion imitators.
Ouch! Having fast fashion marts like Zara and H&M mass produce pieces from your collection before they hit your own boutique is never a good thing. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times praised Giannini for being good at marketing the Gucci product for its fans however,
Giannini has become an expert not so much in expressing an idea as packaging it … But where was the element of surprise? And apart from the updated Jackie bags and chunky stone bracelets, how luxurious was it? The olive and khaki safari dresses, with zips and drawstrings, were cute and well-executed. But are they a look you expect from Gucci, or Liz Claiborne? Are they even a Look?
At Women’s Wear Daily, critics compared the Gucci spring 09 collection to a “piñata party in Portsmouth” as well as:
Gucci looks are all over Zara. The argument that they seem more appropriate to such a venue than to the upper echelons of luxury fashion hasn’t put a damper on sales of the real thing … [T]hese clothes bore all the exotica of a piñata party in Portsmouth. That, however, might be their genius. Ample anecdotal evidence suggests that most people aren’t interested in stylistic risk-taking, while many fall into the antisobriety camp.
Hmmm…Frida Giannini has big shoes to fill since taking over Tom Ford’s job but having one of her early collections for Gucci compared to clothing found at Zara and H&M can never be a good sign.