“I used to raid my mother's closet as soon as I could walk. She had the most amazing collection of Gucci bags,” reminisces Frida Giannini, who grew up to become the label’s creative director. “The house’s tradition of artisanal excellence is a huge asset that influences me greatly as I design.… But at the same time, my job involves finding ways to make it contemporary. I like to think that my designs blend that luxury heritage with current fashion.”
The latest result is a luxurious collection in which the accessories alone speak volumes. Python skins painted in teal, magenta and mustard wrap structured lady bags, recalling Giannini’s start as handbag design director for the house nine years ago. The emblematic, retro-style double-G clasps nod to the brand’s heritage, and the symbol particularly meaningful to Serenella-Boston boutique owner Leslee Shupe. She’s been collecting Gucci pieces since she was 10 years old, when her grandfather—also a loyal Gucci customer—ordered her a custom double-G belt, which she still treasures. Shupe’s devotion to Gucci pieces, both archival and modern, is not uncommon for the 90-year-old brand.
“I look to the Gucci archive for inspiration with every collection I design, especially now as we celebrate our anniversary,” Giannini says. “My design philosophy has always been focused on reinterpreting iconic pieces, to create a link to Gucci’s past while pushing the designs forward into the present and future.” This year Gucci also debuts its made-to-order and monogram programs, as well as its exclusive 1921 Collection, to celebrate its 90th anniversary. Small top-handle flap bag ($2,400) and medium shoulder flap bag ($2,900), both from the Fall/ Winter 2011–12 collection. The Shops at Prudential Center; gucci.com—AMANDA WEINER