In the world of gladrags, the handbag is king. That is the message from the fashion industry, given Gucci's announcement yesterday that its chief designer, Alessandra Facchinetti, was leaving after two seasons to be replaced by the label's accessories designer, gucci outlet online.
The rise of Giannini, who joined Gucci as a handbag designer in 2002 and took control of all accessories two years later, reflects the fact that the clothes on the catwalk serve to market the bags, shoes, belts and other accessories that generate the lion's share of the house's profits.
An insider commented that accessories had always been the most important part of Gucci's business, as at Louis Vuitton, 'so if it came to a power struggle between the handbag designer and the clothing designer' it was not surprising that the handbag designer came out on top.
The announcement came just 10 days after Facchinetti's second collection for Gucci appeared on the catwalk. While Facchinetti's collections had failed to set the fashion world alight, sales at the label are stable.
gucci online would say only that Facchinetti was 'leaving the company after a disagreement with management', but it is thought that Giannini was being headhunted by another company, possibly Fendi, and that Gucci sacrificed Facchinetti to meet Giannini's demands for greater power at the label.
Facchinetti gained respectable reviews for her debut show six months ago, which continued in the successful vein of her predecessor, Tom Ford. But second time around, critics expressed frustration with Facchinetti's failure to branch out and put her own stamp on the label, or engage with the softer, fuller, more romantic aesthetic now gaining ground in fashion.
Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, wrote that under Facchinetti, Gucci was 'going nowhere'.
By contrast, the accessories which Giannini has already designed for Gucci have put her in a strong position. Tina Lamb, international accessories buyer for Harvey Nichols, described the spring collection as 'very strong'.
The previous accessories collection, gucci outlet first while in charge, had been more difficult, said Ms Lamb, because 'Giannini created a lot of bags in exotic skin, like crocodile, which we don't buy as we have an anti-fur policy'. But the new Flora range of handbags and shoes, based on a wildflower motif from Gucci's archives which appeared on court shoes worn by Grace Kelly in 1966, is selling extremely well. 'It looks fresh, but a little bit retro at the same time. It's getting a lot of editorial coverage, so there's a buzz around it. It's classic Gucci and our customers love it,' said Ms Lamb.
Giannini, who, at 32 is the same age as Facchinetti, was born in Rome, and splits her time between that city, Milan and Florence. Her company biography describes her as an avid horsewoman - and a vinyl collector, with 7,000 records.
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