A Venetian moment at Armani Privé, where the master of non-colors exploded into scores of rainbow hues in a couture collection set amid equestrian Paris.
This season, Giorgio went unusually baroque; a far cry from his traditional non-color scheme, a move telegraphed by his harlequin-print invitation, which in turn announced the glimmering runway in the same pink, lime and light mauve hues. This from the designer known for creating black boxes for most of his shows outside of Milan.
Good also to see that in a Paris season which has referenced Black icons like Josephine Baker and Dorothy Dandridge, Giorgio included a good dozen black models in his casting. In a show staged inside the Garde Républicaine – home of a cavalry regiment.
His key element for day and early evening was the bolero, seen in a series of taught versions with sleeves cut off at the elbow and made in multiple fabrics. In pink silk with an undulating surface like diamond cut steel; or a mint matelassé bolero over a seafoam green silk blouse; or a sugary pink jacket done in a mosaic print.
Many jackets trimmed with thick bands of black to give the collection a more dramatic punch. Most of the boleros worn over peg legs pants or silk slimline jodhpurs, an old Armani standby.
Adding a French couture touch with tiny hats, mini demi-berets, quarter corporals’ caps and mesh conversation pieces.
All shown before a newly unified front row at Armani. With sisters Carla and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi sitting beside each other in the front row. Next door to them Jean Todt, the former team manager of a Ferrari Formula One championship Scuderia and his wife, Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh.
“In town to find the right Armani dress for the Oscars,” quipped one wag.
For evening, Giorgio went for densely sequined columns and slinky crystal encrusted movie star gowns, so tight the models made slow progress down the runway. All of them boasting diamond pattern designs, and the sherbet hues of the runway.
“The rococo interiors of Venetian palazzos, it is the splendour of light, multiplied by extraordinary embroidery, that creates the most precious sensations. Everything is light, impalpable and glittering,” explained the designer in his program notes.
As is regularly the case these days, Armani earned a standing ovation at the finale, when he took his bow amid scores of towering models.
Perhaps after Armani’s two recent stellar menswear shows in Milan, this was not such an outstanding performance. Though you just know that many of these looks will make dramatic appearances on the Oscars red carpet next month. Nothing Hollywood likes more than a little baroque.
Little wonder Giorgio took a long, ebullient bow.
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