At Privé, Armani does neo-classical with a graceful twist

A radical change of mood at Giorgio Armani Privé, where the Italian staged his grandest show ever in couture in Paris. Gone was the black box he prefers as a show space, in came virtual neo-classical glory, with slide projections of the walls of Palazzo Corsini, his via Borgonuovo 11 studio from central Milan, and a  pre-show cocktail space with giant images of Italian frescoes.


Armani Privé

 
Out too was his disco funk soundtrack. Instead the music was Wagner, Rachmaninov, Offenbach and, most gloriously, Ludovico Einaudi.
 
The clothes too were more smoky and sophisticated. Stunning slim fit jackets held together by ceramic buttons, over masculine pants finished in super-light silks. Everything veiled and nuanced in prints of petals, birds and stains; these images repeated in minutely sewn beads and plastic strips.  All topped by knit Venetian Doges’ hats and face mesh. Ambiguous, mysterious and surprising.
 
“I found it all wonderful. The colors, the elegance and sense of grace,” said Naomi Watts, one of a score of stars who sat in the front row. A front row completely devoid of any influencers, unlike so many minor couture rivals.
 
The standout moment was Armani’s all-black finale – this from a designer famed for his non-colors of mud, concrete and sand. Preciously attached lace, silk ribbons, fabric flowers or metallic buds seen on bare shouldered columns and slimline cocktails.
 
“One needs to take a little distance from the world. To think and create some mystery,” said Armani, after being enveloped by movie stars. Sophia Loren, Watts, Kate Winslet and Isabel Huppert (who caused a huge ruckus by arriving two looks into the show inside the Theatre de Chaillot) all squeezed up close to Giorgio. Their eyes were smiling in quiet appreciation.
 
 

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