#SuzyCouture: Oscar-Ready At Armani Privé
The words Armani Privé (meaning ‘private’) had a special relevance to the designer’s high fashion show, because its proximity to the audience was part of a trend for the spring 2019 Paris haute couture season.
Up-close and personal staging – rather than flamboyant and seen from a distance – brought couture in towards the clients and underscored its special qualities: the fabrics in reach from the front row; the intricacy of shaping and stitching; and Armani himself taking his bow right in front of the audience.
The designer, who has dressed so many stars for the Academy Awards, always offers an element of Oscar dressing – not to mention that in his audience for a second show were stars from Céline Dion to Michelle Dockery and Dakota Fanning.
The show was named ‘Lacquer’ which explained not just the liquid shine on many of the clothes, but also the sense that they were deliberately designed as outfits so close to the body that they might have been painted on.
Armani was also paying homage to the subtlety and beauty of the world of Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who died at the end of last year. The music – it was the score from his 1970 film The Conformist – seemed elegiac as it echoed through the series of intimate rooms, one decorated with Far Eastern paintings perfectly in sync with the show.
The couture presentation opened with shimmering silver trouser suits creating a straight, elongated line from the beret-like, close-fitting head pieces that are quite the trend this Paris season.
The opening outfits, tailored and trim, had elements of pattern and colour, but did not yet tell the visual story of the season: a mix of lacquer red and bright blue that dominated the show. The red was particularly powerful, but both shades were given a shine effect, either from the fabric itself or from myriad paillettes stitched on to the surface.
The only colour that stood out, apart from the red/blue combination, was black – but that too was peppered with a lacquered patina.
The strength of Armani Privé is that it has a clear and absolute message, this season drawn on ultra-lean lines tracing the shape of the body. In show notes, the designer used words like ‘enchantment’ and ‘petite’ suggesting a fairy-like quality.
Yet this was not some otherworldly collection, but one that offered women a wardrobe for the real world.