'In my experience, where the red carpet goes, customers and press follow,' Giorgio Armani told Women’s Wear Daily this week. That might explain the mood of ice-cool, vintage Hollywood glamour that resonated throughout the autumn collection for his upscale Armani Prive line. Mr Armani is a man who understands this mindset well: he’s dressed more of the world’s superstars than most, after all, and has been doing so for more than a quarter of a century now.
The Italian designer called his collection Nude and clad his customary Paris show space – in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower - in pale and interesting colours the better to show off his new season designs, predominantly crafted in equally soft and characteristically neutral shades.
Perhaps with dressing a new generation of A-listers in mind, there was an ethereal lightness to much of the work – and indeed the workmanship involved in its creation. The finest chiffon, organza and tulle gowns, tunics and loose-fitting trousers appeared almost to float around models’ bodies. Embroidered with crystal, they twinkled prettily in the lights. Daywear was more gentle than it has been also: a rose pink silk skirt suit, a smocked beige overcoat and more all spoke of the unstructured tailoring with which Armani made his name way back when. It looked as relaxed and easy to wear now as it did then.
Armani joined the couture calendar relatively recently in 2005. 'The more designers who aspire to couture status, the better for fashion in general,’ he told WWD. ‘I applaud anything that maintains couture in good health.'
The good health of Armani Prive, which is hand executed to the highest standard, is undeniable. Like many other designers this season Armani confirmed sales were on the rise in China and India in particular. Also buoyant is a new-found interest among customers to invest in couture accessories to wear with their ultra-exclusive clothes. These are currently sold in Armani boutiques in both Paris and Rome.