While Paris can be glorious under rain — monuments and plane trees reflected in puddles and dark sidewalks — the weather has been exceptionally damp and dreary during couture. At least one man finds overcast skies inspiring: Giorgio Armani, who called his spring couture show “Clouds.”
Excepting the sauna-like temperature, his show venue was bright and airy — the white, backlit walls bore faint smudges of blue, red and gray reminiscent of blurred, painterly skies. The same light spirit infected many of the collection’s dresses, dappled with watercolor prints and gleaming textures. (The silver lining presumably.)
In the midst of awards season, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger and Isabelle Huppert watched intently from the front row as a run of short, bubble-shaped dresses paraded by. Mostly strapless, they were youthful and often fetching. One even came with a matching backpack, anchored to the back with jeweled chains that resembled dress straps.
Other short dresses in outsized prints were vaguely Eighties with their free-form, poufy draping and bunching around the hips. Alternatives to the dresses were bubble skirts and bubble shorts, often paired with scarf-like tops trailing undulating stretches of color-flecked silk on one side.
The more serious red-carpet numbers — including a strapless free fall of sparkling blush colored froth dipped in black that one could imagine on Kruger — were accompanied by handsome chaperones in dark velvet tuxedos with enormous shawl collars.
Armani said his clientele, especially from Asia, are increasingly interested in evening clothes, and getting younger — hence the emphasis on leggy looks.
The daywear could have used a similar oomph of youth. The taut, round-shouldered tailoring was rarely convincing, such as jackets in pink or purple alligator buffed to a high gloss and cinched with a rosette. Often prone to tricky cuts on trousers, Armani kept them lean and added snazzy prints.
It turns out daybreak colors work best after dark.