|Alex Sarginson For Vogue December 2005|
A year later, Giannini assumed full creative control, bringing calm and profitability to an Italian house that had been roiled by upheaval. Giannini’s dramatic rise followed the sensational exits of, first, Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole, and then Ford’s immediate successors, Alessandra Facchinetti and John Ray.
“Creativity must create business,”said the pragmatic Giannini, whose designs soon got the cash registers ringing again—while occasionally also irking Ford-friendly critics. With her long hair and doll-like face, the young Roman designer presented a stark contrast to Ford (a handsome Texan with an artful stubble, whose hard-edged “sex sells” approach revived Gucci in the mid-1990s, making it a business-school case study).
The transition from the Ford to Giannini eras was an aesthetic volte-face, as well, but most of the naysayers eventually came to see, as a headline in The Australian put it, that “inimitable does not mean irreplaceable at Gucci.
Frida Giannini born in Rome, the only child of an architect father and art-history professor mother. As a young child Frida will visit many museums. Architecture and interior design are her second passions in life, she later says.
Begins riding, eventually becoming an accomplished show jumper.
Falls in love with chic shoes. “I got my first pair of Gucci stilettos when I was 16, she later recalls.
Commits a big fashion faux pas as a student at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda: “I tried imitating Madonna,” she will admit in 2008. “Extremely ambitious, because who in the whole world can pull off Madonna apart from the Material Girl herself?”
Accepts a job at Fendi. “I was only a bag designer by accident. After studying fashion in Rome, I went to Fendi as a ready-to-wear designer and then was asked, out of the blue, to go into the bag department. I think they saw I have a flexible hand.”
September: Joins Gucci as design director of handbags, working under Tom Ford.
As Gucci’s creative director of accessories—a specially created post—makes a splash with the Flora line.
Launches accessories collection to benefit Unicef. March: Adds womenswear to her responsibilities and is given four weeks to create a cruise collection. July: Marries Giovanni Battista Guidi in a dress of her own design. September: Makes her runway debut with a spring collection inspired by a postwar photo of her grandmother, who in later years owned a fashion boutique.
Takes over full creative control of Gucci. June: Her first menswear show is inspired by Peter Sellers in the sixties. November: Giannini appears on The Wall Street Journal’s list of “50 Women to Watch.”
June: Named International Designer of the Year by the Fashion Editors Club of Japan. Honored as Fashion Designer of the Year at the British Glamour Women of the Year Awards. October: Receives Fashion Group International’s Design Star award.
February: Recognized by Wallpaper for her innovative spring menswear collection.