Style Watch: Gucci's Art Deco Revival
by Amanda Weiner
“The skyscrapers of New York, with their shiny surfaces and reflections, were the starting point to work with gold and silver, especially for the eveningwear,” says Gucci creative director Frida Giannini, who was newly captivated by the towering Chrysler Building while visiting New York this past summer. “The idea was the decorative architecture from the ’20s, as it often resembles the high jewelry from those years: for example the Chrysler Building’s Art Deco details, from the doorways to the door handles, and its tones of gold and metal. In the collection this translated to reflective surfaces that allowed me to play with black, white, and of course gold, which is true to Gucci’s signature glamour.”
At one time the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Chrysler Building remains an emblem of the Art Deco era and the machine age, a time of modernism in design and progress for women’s rights. As a beacon of exquisite style and THE LOOK Gucci’s dress mirrors the New York City skyline. “I was inspired by Art Deco because it is one of my favorite moments in terms of art history and literature,” she says. “It was also a period when women became much more free, thanks to pioneers like Nancy Cunard and Louise Brooks— they revolutionized the female wardrobe and dared with their intelligence, wisdom, and innate elegance.”
In this light, Giannini designed a woman after Cunard, Man Ray’s muse in that era. “His work allowed me to retrace some moments from the ’20s, specifically women in the context of design, décor, and haute jewelry,” the designer noted. Giannini, like the Gucci woman, channels a boyish bravado when dressed in updated tuxedos or track pants, and her supremely powerful presence is complemented by the sinuous curves of beaded fringe dresses, graphic mesh bodysuits, and enamel tiger adornments. Such accents, borrowed from the house’s archives from the ’70s, reveal how the Gucci muse could with this collection harnesses her physicality into strength.
“The idea was not to channel the ’20s directly but rather to take references from that era and make them current with a strong sense of personality,” said the designer. “I wanted to create a sculptural glamour for the Gucci woman.” 725 Fifth Ave., 212-826-2600
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACQUELYN ALLEN (JACKET)