“I control,” Giorgio Armani told WWD early this week. The designer was referring specifically to his distaste for delegating responsibility, but he might as well have been offering commentary on the spring collection he showed on Thursday, a flamboyant amalgam of aggressive geometry, splashy florals and molto embellishment. A bold Bauhaus motif provided the control mechanism, which shaped it all into a coherent, lively collection.
With its focus on short, fluffy dresses and skirts, it was, by house standards, a quite feminine collection. But rather than get mired in disingenuous girlishness, Armani achieved sophistication via what he called “rigorous” constructions. Some dresses, their skirts of varying degrees of fullness, had graphic panels, boldly outlined or heavily jeweled; others, deep V-plunges over illusion netting, and still others, wide, vibrantly embroidered belts. When he went lean, as with a crystal-covered cocktail shaker in dramatic bands of blue, green and silver, he added a short, stiff overskirt. Such contrasts made for an interesting tension while offering a memorable alternative to more mundane hourglass eveningwear.
Daytime took the form of pretty gypsy blouses and printed scarves, knotted on one shoulder over flirty little skirts. Yet Armani didn’t forsake the tailored set completely — he just loosened it up via languid pants and jackets in contrasting fabrics and colors. His most traditional jacket flashed a jaunty black, white and red houndstooth; artier affairs worked the geometry angle, with soft triangular lapels and a lovely oversize ribbon weave, both of which allowed for glimpses of skin. It all added up to a showing with considerable bravado, of which the original Bauhaus set would have no doubt approved.