You know the Gucci Woman. She’s steely, sexy and in control, wears her jackets sculpted and her skirts pencil thin, loves a talon heel and a cinched waist.

Not any more. For spring/summer 2014, Gucci Woman will be exploring her nonchalant, elegant, easy side. She’ll be in sensual mode, stalking around in silky tracksuit bottoms, loose kaftans and flowing dresses.

It says a lot about the grip that Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini has over the brand, that even when she switches gear from hard and sculpted to soft and fluid, Gucci Woman remains, unmistakably, Gucci Woman. That she is now wearing a suede fishnet T-shirt over a sheer black bra with a fluid graphic coloured skirt, makes her no less a lover of high-luxe or sex – although she might now prefer to be described as sensuous rather than sexy.

‘I took activewear essentials as a starting point and set out to create a feminine take on technical outfitting, crafted with Gucci’s codes,’ is how Giannini put it.

The mainly black collection was enlivened with geometric iridescent, matte and shine patterns that radiated off strappy dresses, maxi T-shirts, blousons, with semi-transparent jogging bottoms seamed with go-faster stripes and sporty jumpsuits. On her feet, strappy high sandals, using ‘technical elastic’, that had a touch of the bondage about them (vintage Giannini Gucci) and in her hand, a number of bags – some dripping in calf-length tassels, others were aptly titled the ‘maxi clutch’.

As sure as night follows day, the luxury and decadence were ramped up for evening. ‘Intricate elegance, enlivened by a refined ornamentalism that takes its cue from Erte illustrations,’ she explained. The French Russian artist whose work was first depicted in fashion by Paul Poiret was the touch point on which these decadent pieces were created. Here, kimonos, tunics and long wafting layered dresses in rich wine and black were patterned with sparkling bronze. They plunged with deep slit necks, in fact there were unexpected slits everywhere, but those sparkling surface designs, while coated in richness and giving off opulent embellishment, remained light and sleek.

Because Giannini’s approach was so unexpected this season, pulling Gucci Woman not out of her comfort zone exactly, but into another zone for sure, the collection felt all the fresher and stronger for it.