Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Amber Armani Privé

By Godfrey Deeny

Paris – Leave it to Giorgio Armani to remind Paris of arguably the key reason for haute couture in the first place, creating hyper sophisticated fashion for the world's most stylish women.

For fall 2010, the Italian couturier sees women wearing classic movie fashion, the kind smart women like Katherine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall might wear, though with a soupcon of modernity injected through edgy detailing and modernist accessories.

"Elegance, with an amber tinted vision," explained Armani backstage, after this slick show staged on Tuesday, July 6, in a disused bank in Paris' Place Vendome and attended by modern thespian stars like Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy, Claudia Cardinale, Isabelle Huppert and Gemma Arterton.

His color scheme ran the length from biscuit and barks to caramel and chocolates, so carefully focused was this show, so amber hued the mood.

Opening with lots of day suits and coats, Armani riffed on his signature silhouettes and cuts - plunging necklines, asymmetrical fastenings, diagonal weaves and patterns. And that's were his skill as a tailor meant the clothes, while classic, were very of-the-moment. Embroidered edging, subtle leather piping and scarf collars in airy crepe all added to the sense of understated chic.

If Armani is any judge - and he remains Europe's best selling living designer with annual sales set to top two billion euros, or $2.4 billion, this year - then women will soon be wearing pencil skirts carefully draped so they twist around the thighs, and sharply shouldered jackets - heralding a return of the 1980s power look. Real and faux snake and reptile skins will be the material of choice for wedges, their heels composed of see-through Perspex.

Not that Armani is incapable of some savvy experimentation. There was a brilliant moment when he sent out a slinky column composed of faux cockles and mussels, a dress that looked like it had been left under a northern strand for a year, before emerging into a glistening sunlight.

Asked about the beachwear vision, Armani was in a joking mood. "Oh, we had a half-dozen ladies work a month sewing on the shells in overnight shifts," he said, before beginning interviews with a score of camera crews backstage.