EMPORIO ARMANI: These days, many fashion shows just reek with effort. They're themed and styled and restyled and supermodeled to such a toxic degree that in the editorial-cum-religious frenzy of it all, you can just about feel the designer's--or his superstar stylist's--anguish while you watch. Then it's showtime at Giorgio Armani, and everything seems so effortless--as if it's a breeze being one of the most bought and most worn designers in the world, season after season, year after year.
In the Emporio Armani collection he showed Sunday, Giorgio made it look easy all over again. He sent out a lineup of young, great-looking clothes, bursting with freshness at every turn. And he packed it with diversity, as if he wanted to send the message that smart, tasteful dressing doesn't have to be limiting. Armani showed every conceivable kind of jacket--shaped, relaxed, short, long--usually over graceful, fluid pants. There were breezy dresses, shorts, skinny knits, chunky knits and a palette that went from pristine whites and cool grays to dark, dapper pinstripes and touches of pastels.
And if all that weren't enough, Giorgio romanced his audience with a breathtaking evening display. The layers of ethereal pastel chiffons, laces and touches of beads took on a gentility and spirit that could have walked right out of a dream.

GUCCI: It was the show everyone had been waiting for. What would Tom Ford do as an encore to his Mod blockbuster last fall, the show which currently has Gucci reveling in a major frenzy at retail, just in time for its public offering?
Hippie followed Mod originally, and since Ford's not into revisionist timelines--at least not yet--that's just what he did, too. And he did it with the same audacity as last season. Some loved it, others found it almost painfully self-conscious--styled to the nines by Ford and a team of freelancers.
But that's not to say that this outing had the same impact. For fall, there had been a pre-show buzz, but nobody knew exactly why. This season, no show could have lived up to all the expectations. But Ford more than held his own. And for all the strung-out beauty--brilliantly executed by Julien d'Ys and Linda Cantello--peek-a-boo laces, zebra djellabas and crochet mirrored handbags, these are good, wearable clothes--with the promise of lots more back in the showroom. The point, according to the program notes, was "Remix, not retro." There were even some pinstripes, and they managed not to look out of place. In fact, many of the clothes aren't all that different from fall, for example, the tight shirts and low-slung pants, now cut shorter and easier to wear.
The biggest news: Long jersey skirts, which look great, flat sandals, high-waisted dresses and a cool, sexy attitude. The frenzy goes on--at least for the moment.

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