The spectre of Tom Ford still hangs heavily over Gucci, all these years after he left the label and well into the era of Frida Giannini’s success at the Italian house’s helm. Giannini’s brought with her a quieter, for feminine version of Gucci sex appeal, but my louche expectations are still largely intact, even when it comes to something as sexually neutral as handbags. The Ford accessories era at Gucci was characterized by heavily embellished horsebit bags, and even long after he left, the look endured in many ways.
Gucci’s accessories have been changing slowly since then, and Gucci Fall 2012 offers what may be the most distinct departure yet. Where small, showy bags and logo pieces had once been the brand’s primary stock and trade, this season brings with it a selection of large, neutral leather totes, all of which have almost no obvious external branding to speak of except for a sedate pieces of stirrup, horsebit or bamboo hardware here and there. Even the runway portion of the collection is relatively simple functional, if slightly more textured. Check out our favorites from the collection after the jump and let us know if you like the direction in which Gucci is headed.