A moment of grace: that’s the best way to describe Giorgio Armani’s return to Paris Couture Week.
The maestro made his comeback, after skipping one season and showing online the next, with a display at the Italian embassy — a venue he’s used before, but one that never gets old. In addition to its gilded reception rooms, the 18th-century building has one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris, where guests including Diane Kruger and Ashley Park were invited to linger and enjoy drinks after the show.
In keeping with tradition, Armani sent out his 68 looks at a leisurely pace, allowing eyes to wander over his precision constructions, many set off with sparkling sequined and crystal embroidery. Iridescent fabrics had a liquid sheen, while silk organza gowns were as shiny as cellophane – both a magnet and shield for red-carpet flashbulbs.
There were his signature jackets, from a trim black velvet version with pagoda shoulders to a kimono wrapper in a dégradé of pink hues. Armani is fond of eclectic pant shapes, which this season included bulbous cuffed styles, and double-layered trousers overlaid with embroidered tulle for a semi-transparent effect.
His evening gowns stuck to a more classic approach, though a Barbie pink palette and crinoline ruffles gave them a pop-cultural gloss that made them a perfect foil for a Gen Z celebrity seeking to burnish her fashion credentials.
Some of them were provocatively sheer, others came with crystal beaded bodices. Best of all were the bustier gowns with candy wrapper ruffles that showed the full mastery of the Armani Privé atelier, which has remained fully staffed through the pandemic.
The designer also reprised some pieces from his last couture collection, a tribute to his hometown of Milan, “creating a subtle common thread that underscores a deep sense of authenticity that transcends seasons,” according to his collection notes.
The same could be said of any of his creations. You need only look at the casting of his shows: no Gigi or Bella Hadid here. Instead, Armani uses his favorite models season after season, in a mark of loyalty that speaks volumes about his timeless approach to fashion.
If it’s true that many of these looks carry no sell-by date, the lightness of the display was perfectly calibrated to the occasion. The dancing lady emoji might need a wardrobe update.