In New York, where a funereal wardrobe used to be a condition of residency, fashionistas have been drenched in color and suffused with noisy patterns. More implausibly still, French fashion editors, while not abandoning black entirely - les pantalons colores, jamais! - are, in a courageous, heretical gesture, mixing it with a little white. Nonetheless, while jewel hues and flamboyant prints are fashion's equivalent of Mamma Mia - escapism from economic gloom - you'd expect Gucci to maintain a position at the murkier end of the spectrum.
Gucci has spent the best part of 20 years honing it's archetype, art directing some of the most consistent advertising campaigns and catwalk shows in the world. An after dark kind of creature who sleeps in until after lunch (an effective approach to avoiding calories) and lives a substantial part of her life in a twilight zone, Gucci woman has smoky eyes, ruthlessly subjugated hair and a weakness for dominatrix clothes. She hardly changes. When she does occasionally wear color it's dusky, smoky - or blindingly white. Soft shades are for ageing wives who can't risk black next to their faces. Pastels are for wimps. Gucci woman is neither.
But even a construct as established as Gucci's can be tweaked. Recently the brand has adopted the wholesome, horse-riding Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco as one of its models. Gucci's head designer, Frida Giannini, spoke of an aristocratic muse this season. The starting point, she explained, came from "Richard Avedon and Gian Paolo Barbieri's historic photographs".
When she talks of history, she means the 1970s: bell bottoms and bell sleeves, belted tunic-come-shirts-come-jackets, swirling prints and show-stopping, long organza dresses with scooped-out backs and cascades of stiff, architectural ruffles. Above all she means color - yellows, turquoise, cobalt but also pinks Depending on your cultural heritage, it was reminiscent of those grand American hostesses at play in Palm Beach - or of Margot from The Good LIfe .
Either way it made for great pictures and the footage being shot from the side of the catwalk on Super 8 film by a Gucci photographer, will presumably surface shortly in a retro-tinged campaign.
Meanwhile, I wouldn't want Gucci loyalists to think there was no black. It's just that once the black section would be the only clothes that actually sold. Now, even at Gucci, you can't be so sure.