Thursday, 5 April 2012

Designer profile: Frida Giannini

pic from

Many women think they know what looks good on men – it is not unheard of for a girl to be put off a guy she could potentially be attracted to because of his choice of footwear, for example. But most men don’t like being told what to wear by women, and as a general rule, appear less interested in fashion than their female counterparts. Could this explain why the majority of menswear designers in the fashion world today are male? After all, this isn’t the case for womenswear, with Chanel, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana (to name but a few of fashion’s big hitters) all with men at the helm.
                However, an exception to the trend is found with Gucci (Italy’s biggest-selling brand), where Frida Giannini has been the creative director in charge of both the women’s and men’s lines since 2006. Gucci was established in 1920 by Guccio Gucci and his three sons so could be considered to be an originally male-led brand. Nevertheless, in 2002 Giannini (at the age of 30) joined the brand to oversee handbags, before being promoted to creative director of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories in 2005, and finally taking the menswear reins from John Ray thus becoming overall creative director. When Ray resigned, he claimed that it was too difficult to form a consistent image for Gucci, but can a woman really design clothes that men want as well as a male could?
                Well, Giannini perhaps isn’t your typical female: she grew up the only girl surrounded by lots of male cousins, spending her time playing football and motorcross. As we all know from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s antics, it’s particularly rare for women to hold powerful positions in Italy today, but Giannini is definitely an exception as the head of design for a company with over 280 stores worldwide.
                Perhaps Giannini’s position is so unique because she designs both the women’s and men’s lines, and says she imagines them together: “To me, they are really a couple. They live together. They grew up in Italy together. It's very important for me to create a connection between them,” she tells Interview Magazine.

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