Frida Giannini

Now entering her third year as the company’s sole creative director, Gucci’s top designer talks food, fashion, fragrance, and more.

Since taking over from Tom Ford, Gucci’s creative queen, Frida Giannini, has brought a kinder, gentler, more feminine sensibility to the brand’s signature sensuality. Both the market and the media have responded positively, with sales up 30 percent and Giannini’s novel reinventions of forgotten classics winning critical praise. But Giannini remains grounded, careful to make time for what she loves—dinner with friends, indulging her collecting addictions. As she celebrates the recent reopening of Gucci’s New York flagship, Giannini gives us a window into how she lives and how she thinks.

Favorite restaurant?

Da Paolino in Capri, where the roof is created by lemon trees and the whole place is perfumed with their scent.

And book?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. A modern masterpiece with a fantastically complex plot.

If you could own any artwork?

A Modigliani. He was a pioneer.

What fragrance do you wear?

My favorite is Quercus by Penhaligon, and, oh yes, of course Gucci by Gucci!

Must-have clothing item?

Short, printed, colorful dresses. They’re perfect for anything: cocktails, business meetings, that little weekend getaway.

How do you relax?

By listening to music and cooking. My husband says he loves it when I come home stressed because I immediately start working in the kitchen.

How do you stay organized?

I have little black leather notebooks scattered all around my house for ideas. I always keep one on the bedside table in case I wake up in the middle of the night and want it.

Are you a collector?

Absolutely. Watches, Venetian glass ashtrays from the thirties—and vinyl LPs. I have an entire room at home just for records. The best gift I ever received was a Technics record player as an engagement present from my husband. He knew how important the vinyl collection was to me.

To avoid jet lag?

I travel with my favorite pillow.

Favorite hotel?

The Conrad in Tokyo. It has the most beautiful suites.

Best hostess gift?

White tulips. My favorite.

On your iPod?

I have David Bowie, The Doors, Amy Winehouse, Justin Timberlake, Roisin Murphy, and Madonna.

Favorite movie?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I adore Audrey Hepburn. One of my earliest and favorite fashion memories is her as Holly Golightly in the little black dress she wears with pearls.

In a new city, what’s always on your itinerary?

I go to vintage shops and flea markets all over the world to find buried treasures. Globalization means most stores sell the same products, but you can still find original pieces.

Cocktail of choice?

Wine. White. What else? I’m Italian.