Saturday, February 13th
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The new brain behind the Gucci woman is nothing like Tom Ford. "[Tom's] obsessed with [selling] sex, and I'm not," says Italian Frida Giannini, who calls herself tamer than her brazen former boss. Giannini, who replaced Alessandra Facchinetti as creative director of women's wear at the $2 billion luxury house last spring, is known for her talent as an accessories designer. Now she will have to prove herself in apparel. Her plan is to bring a timeless quality to Gucci. She cites as an example the success of the Flora line of accessories introduced last year, inspired by the print of an old Gucci scarf made for Grace Kelly. "I want to continue to develop it, not sell it or mark it down," she says. Giannini landed a job at Fendi in 1997, designing ready-to-wear before switching to leather goods. In 2002 she jumped to Gucci, where she oversaw handbags. In 2004 she was appointed creative director of accessories, which make up more than 80% of the company's sales. "I can't imagine the next fashion show without any jewelry or bags," she says.