#SuzyCouture: Armani Privé: a spoonful of sugar in pastel shades
‘It wasn’t all Swan Lake,” said Giorgio Armani backstage, as he brought in for a photograph two models – one in a dress shimmering with pastel pink and ice blue, the other with more feathery effects in tulle, and a pale rose planted on their heads.
The tinkly Tchaikovsky music – and especially the pastel shades on anything from a tailored suit to a graceful dress – added to the sense of ethereal sweetness that fitted in with the sugary floor tiles at the Paris Petit Palais.
The designer, closing the show with an unexpected twirl down the runway, explained the essence of this Armani Privé collection that looked like a shoo-in for red-carpet events.
“The music was something that stirred emotions and that moves me,” continued the designer, who will be 85 in a few days. “Then I wanted to do folklore but in the Armani way, from the heart.”
The Giorgio Armani ethic has moved such a long way from his early years, characterised by unisex style and a penchant for beige and grey, that it sometimes feels like a tectonic shift to see the clothes that are coming out now for the Privé collection.
Yet, at the same time, this show was quintessentially Armani, offering a sweet, pale version of classic dress-up day wear, occasionally whimsical, but never, ever vulgar or ridiculous.
The show had its own distinctive flow. First came walk-wear – the impeccably tailored jacket in sorbet colours worn with trousers in shiny fabrics. They were the essence of ‘smart casual’ which the designer more or less invented back in the day when classy had its own cool. The outfits were built on black with the pastel shades only beginning to appear.
Then a spoonful of sugar was sprinkled over the darkness with sugar-sweet shades worked in netting or tulle. Everything seemed to take on a sheen as the models walked the swirling patterns of the floor.
There was no precise moment when the tailoring disappeared. Rather, it evaporated into fluffy feathers in pretty colours as the fabrics became finer and lighter – a reminder that there is no defined season for a winter collection when many of the best clients live in LA. Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban were front and centre for the private client’s show.
The fashion stream flowed on, dress after dress, pretty, graceful, elegant – qualities that so many fashion companies have abandoned – and partied on from light to darkness, as an ebullient Armani took his bow.