#SuzyCouture: Giorgio Armani Privé – Homage to True Couture

The venue was grand enough: the Italian embassy in Paris, with its fine decoration in gilded salons. And the aim of Giorgio Armani, after half a century in fashion, was to look, in his own words, at “real haute couture”.

“Everything in fashion today seems to be about sport and streetwear,” he said, as the phalanx of models in grand, but sleek, gowns lined up behind him on the massive staircase.

Their clothes were almost entirely formal, meaning that even the trousers that opened the show seemed destined for early evening into late night.

There is a slight irony in knowing that this designer introduced to fashion a relaxed ease, especially to traditional male tailoring. Yet there was something powerful about the female elegance of fine-cut slim jackets and trousers. They continued to appear until gowns from the original King of the Red Carpet took over.

“Regal” was the word the designer used to sum up his vision. And with the Meghan Markle effect spreading subtly across high-end fashion, Armani’s sleek style seemed appropriate. He created a strong line from the neck downwards, which looked streamlined yet decorative. There were even touches of Yves Saint Laurent in the way that the Italian designer forged such defined lines.

Armani often has a touch of whimsy, and in this Privé show there was a fluff of shocking pink feathers for a puff of a hat. There was also a sudden burst of colour, especially shocking pink and turquoise, occasionally both together, which was a jarring element in the sleek performance.

But it was soon back to black – and white – creating a feeling of timeless grandeur, slightly more classic and formal than the designer’s years of bringing elegance to the innate vulgarity of the red carpet. As ever, the show was loooong! – as though he was determined to show every single idea brought to fruition.

“Giorgio Armani – Perfectionist” would be a good way to define this collection. Especially as it ended with the designer himself bending down to the floor to pick up feathers that had wafted off the clothes. Armani Privé indeed.