The invitation sent the message: Giorgio Armani would be going green—lime green, to be exact. But the show notes were titled, “Fade toGrey.” The combination proved Armani’s primary motif: a base of gray andblack fused with shots of the acid bright. “Lime green is a color thatstands out,” Armani said after his show. “It’s a stimulating color…Italso represents something avant-garde.”

Perhaps so, althoughhere Armani flexed his avant muscle with the utmost discretion. Hisprimary approach was straightforward, his classic tailoring rendered innumerous variations. He opened strong, using different shades of gray,often in combination, for jackets, pants and dresses. He loosened histailoring for easy coats with one-button closures at the neck.

Thenthe green leitmotif showed up subtly at first, as a small stripe on ajacket collar, but before long Armani incorporated it into the clothesmore obviously  — the yoke of a charming black dress — or full on, indresses and integrated separates.

Evening started with blackjackets and T-shirts over fluid green pajama pants, some of themcrystal-embroidered. The mood here was casual, sometimes too much so, asin just-pulled-the-black-top-out-of-the-closet casual. But it picked upwith pretty gowns, some cut with interesting bodice treatments. Thesecame in gray and black with varying degrees of lime. At highest colorintensity, they had a certain bravado. Come Oscar night, will someonedare?

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