Rebuilding, renewing, rewriting the house codes — the things designers constantly promise each season with no guarantee.
For spring, Giorgio Armani issued a genuine refresh of his canon, teeing up his show with a short film by Paolo Sorrentino, director of “La Grande Bellezza.” Shot in Stromboli and Lipari, Sorrentino’s lushly raw cinematography captured the islands’ weather-worn volcanic landscape and crystal waters, as well as the sensual imagery of a man and a woman lying in the sand naked and intertwined with rope.
It was a stride for the house, not only because Armani enlisted a cool, Oscar-winning director of relevance but because the clothes also reflected the desire for an artisanal touch and focus on craftsmanship that’s in the air.
The title of the show, “Sand,” said much in a single word, explaining the palette, the floating cut of cropped pants and the windswept-dune prints on gently pleated skirts worn with textural woven leather jackets and a plunging, pleated tank. Tailoring — the molded jackets, elongated blazers and mannish trousers — was kept light and loose, adding soft structure to more overtly earthy pieces such as long, fringed handkerchief skirts.
The through-line of organic allure flourished on eveningwear of gauzy Grecian gowns and delicately embroidered dresses with plunging necklines that would look more elegant when not styled with sheer pants. The show closed on a cinematic, if slightly melodramatic moment, when a barefoot, undersea Cleopatra, swathed in crystal-embroidered gauze and wearing a beaded bob of a headdress, made her exit.
The collection was based on a show 15 to 20 years prior called “Scavo” (“Excavation”), in which Armani imagined what an archeologist’s wife would wear to accompany her husband on a dig. “Sand” made for a worthy sequel.