Lady of the House

Gucci designer Frida Giannini has softened the overtly sexual image of the Italian luxury brand, winning the confidence of consumers but not critics

Dave Yoder for TIME

Gucci designer Frida Giannini

Regime changes in fashion have a few things in common with presidential campaigns: both feature bitter rivalries, professional jealousy and personal attacks, and both involve a lot of money. That's why it's been particularly hard for designer Frida Giannini, 35, to win the vote of her fashion constituents for the three years that she has been overseeing the creative direction of Gucci, the $3.1 billion (2.1 billion euro) apparel, fragrance and accessories juggernaut. Compared with her predecessor, the fashion rock star Tom Ford, Giannini cuts a low profile, and critics have called her runway shows everything from "hard to warm to"...

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