If Frida Giannini knows one thing, it's how to navigate the world—the business world.
The Gucci creative director came to the Italian fashion house after a five year stint at Fendi: she started out as handbag design director in 2002; was promoted to head designer of all accessories in 2004; in 2005 she took over all of Gucci's womenswear; in 2006 she was put in charge of the brand's menswear as well. She was only 34 years old. Fashion might be a female-dominated industry as a whole, but the positions of greatest power tend to be awarded to men. Giannini is one of the exceptions.
How did she do it? Fashion, obviously*. The designer makes a habit of wearing heels to business meetings NOT (just) because she likes them and NOT (just) because they're chic, but because she believes men are intimidated by tall women:
I always wear heels in important meetings because most of the time I'm dealing with men and I want to be taller than them—it's part of the psychological game. I don't necessarily think fashion can be feminist, but you have a better chance of succeeding when you feel good.
I'm not saying that a beautiful dress can help you move up in your career. We've had 20 years of that sort of thinking in Italy, if you know what I mean, and I don't recommend it.
That's funny, because when I want to intimidate men I just mock them and it's sort of effective but sometimes it backfires and I just end up dating them? Not sure if wearing heels would give me a leg up (har har har) but I'd probably be more likely to try if I didn't have to walk or take the subway everywhere.
Just as a reality check, I should probably mention: studies find that although height does confer a professional advantage to men, it isn't a factor for women. Studies evaluating the effects of appearance in the workplace have found that women are treated more favorably and rewarded with higher salaries when they're a) pretty b) well-groomed c) slim. Oh yeah — and competent.
Image via FashionThrill
* Just kidding. The answer is actually: lots of hard work, talent, and dedication. But that's a lot more complicated so let's just talk about her shoes.