“Petillant”—or sparkling—was the name Giorgio Armani found for his fall haute couture collection. He’d been inspired by capturing a stylized flavor of the nightclubs of the inter-war 1920s and ’30s, according to an aide, in order to capture “a certain sophistication and allure he feels is missing, but adapted to today’s world.”
There’s often something of art deco graphicism behind Armani’s work. This time he used it to explore dark, sinuous tailoring and diaphanously-layered evening pieces, in a set that hinted, it seemed, of a cabaret club with banquettes and little table lights, but was also
simultaneously incredibly similar to the purpose-built environment he created in the ’80s to show his work at Armani headquarters in Via Borgonuovo. In other words: This may be Paris, but you always know where you are with Mr. Armani.
And it did sparkle—far brighter under the lights than the cameras captured. Armani is king of the beaded jacket; there were hosts of variations on the theme, in everything from bugle-beaded trompe l’oeil black and white patterns to midnight blue flower-sprigged paillettes.
His viewpoint contains multitudes of options and silhouettes, something for every possible type of occasion and woman. There were passages of superbly tailored black velvet jackets and skirt suits, and bustier dresses of every variety from fragile and romantic to drop-dead simple.
Within this, Armani revisited themes that have played through his body of work for years. His European-gaze fascination with art and textiles inspired by Asian cultures cropped up in silk jacquards which nodded, perhaps, to Chinese lacquer cabinets and screens. Then there was reference to the ease he brought to women’s fashion in the ’80s. The idea that you could go out essentially dressed in an Armani t-shirt and trousers and still be head-turningly well-dressed is just as relevant today. A pair of slouchy semi-sheer beaded sweaters, worn with immaculately cut wide-legged menswear pants in pearl-gray satin said everything about Armani’s authority over what’s eternally cool.