Gucci designer Frida Giannini showed a fall collection that owes a heavy debt to the '70s. It includes chiffon dresses, bell-bottomed suits, and lots and lots of fedoras.

Nothing really wrong with this, as interesting mixes of textures and colors go.

And the silk shirt-dresses are nice enough.

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But this is design by numbers: Pick an era, put a few stills from Pretty Baby and an old picture of Bianca Jagger on the mood board, choose among the Pantones forecast to be so hot this season. Add last season's Prada fur stoles and the dresses from Louis Vuitton's disco-fabulous collection. Presto!

It's not like fashion consumers have been conditioned to have particularly high expectations when it comes to the authenticity of Giannini's engagement with her references. Or almost any designer, really.

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Besides, the biggest problem, as far as I can see, is that this collection was already designed by Yves Saint Laurent. In 1971. Down to the brightly-colored fur coats.

At the time, Saint Laurent's collection was highly controversial, because it took inspiration from the 1940s, and the only women who were running around Paris with fur coats and platform shoes and new dresses in the 1940s were those women who were given (or driven), for whatever reason, to collaboration horizontale.

Given France's vexed relationship with the war and occupation — we are talking 1971, two years after The Sorrow and the Pity was made, and a decade before it could be shown on French television — Saint Laurent's show spurred public outrage.

Now, though, Giannini cleanses these silhouettes and colors of all that historical sturm und drang. What was a painful memory of the past, re-presented (offensively enough to some) as fashion, is now just another reference. A way-station on the path to a cute dress.