Take any chapter in the rich history of Giorgio Armani and behold the timeless, seemingly effortless elegance that transcends the epoch his outfits were born into. In the ’70s he brought power dressing to leading ladies on screen (reflect on how he dressed Diane Keaton); in the ’80s he relaxed that silhouette with softer fabrics (sure, he worked the shoulder pads, but he made the jackets in velvet for Jodie Foster); in the ’90s, he singlehandedly transformed Oscar red-carpet dressing by eschewing Vegas-style-sequins, feathers and costume jewellery for aesthetically impeccable ensembles and diamonds. As he famously said of dressing leading ladies for the red carpet, “She will not regret what she is wearing when she looks at pictures of herself in the press the next day. Or even next year.”
Or even next decade, as hindsight now reveals. Armani refrained from being trendy, opting for classic. Fads meant nothing to him as he focused on the eternal, putting the pow into power dressing with his signature style. This season however, he’s gone for a gentler, ethereal silhouette.
Enhanced by the use of “liquid” fabrics and aquatic colours, the latest collection is based on an abstract inspiration: a game of refractions created by a ray of light on a body of water. To that end, Armani uses fine lines and materials for clothing that envelops the body and flows with the silhouette, resulting in an impression of soft and gentle elegance.
The liquid effect is reproduced in organza and translucent materials, blended together and overlapping, with ruffles and layers in subtle, delicate hues: metallic greys, silky pastels, pale blues, with touches of pinks and bright greens. The overall effect is one of iridescent and poetic elegance: fragility full of strength.
“Collection after collection, I hone the idea of soft elegance,” Armani says from his studio. “This season the challenge has been to transpose the mutability of the shape and colour of water into garments and accessories. I achieved this effect with subtle but firm fabrics, using linear constructions and a masterly play on lightweight overlays and glossy embroidery.”
On this journey, the Giorgio Armani woman finds strength in gossamer grace and apparent fragility. Armani was about power dressing. Now, he dresses the empowered.