“A beautiful girl. This strange hairdo.”

So said Giorgio Armani when asked whether the spring collection he’d just shown reflected a coup de jeunesse — a young touch. Indeed, the collection swung toward the youthful end of the designer’s range, with a carefree undercurrent. As for the coif, apart from Armani’s affinity for keeping the look interesting from the neck up, he likely intended it to underscore his artful inspiration. This came not from a specific movement, but, the designer said, from “paintings, images, photos, a little bit of Impressionism.” Armani noted as well the collection’s optimism. “I don’t see the point in showing sad women on the runway,” he said. “Just because it’s a sad moment, there’s no reason to do this.”

That positive vibe proved the collection’s ultimate takeaway as Armani reveled in painterly prints while avoiding the pretension that so often accompanies artful chic.

The show opened with pretty, bright florals in looks with ruffled bodices and floaty skirts over black underlayers. Armani explored this short-and-sassy motif variously in full skirts under trim jackets, walking shorts and a variety of dresses — natural-waisted A-lines, sack dress with amusing clown collar, blousoned number with a splash of tall flowers on one side.

The dresses were the highlights in this diverse collection, and many charmed. A pair of silk pajamas appealed as well, their clean lines a fine foil for their feisty abstract print. Conversely, when Armani gave in to his penchant for unnecessary complications, the collection lagged, as with a pink fabric/black patent harness top, strap-happy in back, over a black skirt. And a pair of glam widows dressed in black under jeweled veils looked out of place in the otherwise upbeat display.

Armani finished strong for evening: a major gown in iridescent lilac under an embroidered vest followed by a sportif counterpoint: a geometric puzzle top of glittering pastel parts over black pants. Either way, bellissima.

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