ARMANI’S OPENING DAY
WEDNESDAY WAS A RED-LETTER DAY FOR GIORGIO ARMANI, WHO UNVEILED A STYLISH SPRING COLLECTION THAT EFFORTLESSLY BLENDED MASCULINE AND FEMININE ELEMENTS — AND SHOWED OFF HIS GREAT NEW STORE.
Giorgio Armani: Vive la nouvelle garconne! She’s Giorgio Armani’s new muse, and she’s the belle of the collections ball. A crafty belle at that, as, with all the garishness out there, she’ll be the one to stand out in the crowd — if she were to travel in the same set. Who needs the Mudd Club when you can work the Riviera instead, with all the chic of a latter-day Chanel?
Working the crowd at Armani’s show was impressive enough: Robert De Niro, Harvey Weinstein, Thora Birch, Sarah Ferguson, Sophia Loren, Phil Collins and a host of Italian celebrities and sports stars filled the front row. The young Birch couldn’t contain her excitement. “I can’t believe I’m sitting next to her!” she said of Loren. “How great is that?” Weinstein, for his part, was ready to talk business. “Armani is a genius,” he said. “I want to recruit him to do the costumes for one of my next films. I can see him doing a musical like ‘Chicago’ or something. I’m going to ask him tonight.”
To wit, one could see a little Kander, Ebb and Fosse in the languid sensuality of the clothes. Just as one could see how deftly Armani can play to a trend without getting swallowed up whole. Case in point: Butch Chic, delivered in mannish cuts on girls who strolled down the runway two-by-two, giggling ever so affectionately over inside jokes. Armani’s show looked graceful as a waltz. But, who’d expect less from the man who wrote the book on androgyny? For spring, the new chapters he’s added feature men’s trousers cut on the fluid side — the collection’s biggest message — often secured with demonstrative suspenders. And they looked great — even if the parade became repetitive. Wisely, Armani never let the proportion get sloppy, most often pairing the pants with small, sexy tops.
The few suits he showed looked beautiful, and those who take short pants seriously might take a shine to the ruffle-edged, knee-length shorts. Throughout, Armani mixed in soft dresses, usually simple in front with some serious strap action in back.
For evening, he continued in the same casual mood. He showed plenty of his lavish embroideries, but in short saucy pastel dresses with thick black straps or little tops, again with trousers. And he finished back where he started, with the purity of black and white: Erin, every bit the chic garconne in a white tank and trousers with black suspenders crossed in front, everything beaded to look simply dazzling — in more ways than one.