Immediately after this afternoon’s Emporio show in Giorgio Armani’s Via Bergognone theater, his Armani/Silos gallery over the road hosted its latest opening: Guy Bourdin: Storyteller. Mr. Armani said that the rich bursts of saturated color—magenta, blue, teal, purple, and turquoise that were especially effective when jumbled in Memphis-esque shaped panels—that intersected this otherwise overwhelmingly monochrome collection were in part informed by Bourdin’s searing palette.
Armani also offered that this collection was touched by the notion of Elizabethan theatrical costume as a protagonist in the emphasis of character. This was referenced in the looping black ribbon neckpieces—a reimagined ruff—worn over shimmering blue and green velvet suits and ruffle collared and bibbed pink silk shirts. The bowler hats and sometimes unusually animated models also hinted at fashion’s silent expression.
The characters Armani was painting in clothing were all firmly drawn from his own tradition. The starting point was soft tailoring, his quintessential touchstone: jackets and coats and a waistcoat of various cuts and fabrics and in mostly shades of greige were worn over shorts, skirts, and pants tucked jodhpur-ishly into boots. A jacket and north-of-the-knee, flare-skirted dress in a fractured silk jacquard of purple-shot menswear patterns signaled a shift into color. Tufted collarless jackets in the same checks we’d just seen on the jacquard were worn over more distinctly jodhpur-derived pants. A section of tuxedo-black daywear followed, often featuring sportswear influences, before the central color section of velvet suiting, intarsia faux fur herringbone jackets, and silk jacquard shirting over techno-organza pants that shimmered in the showspace light.
Shifting into evening, Armani deployed paillettes in looks that included sequined pants worn above two double-belted halter neck tops and a series of dresses with the same knee-topping length as the earlier jacquard. A model, beaming, wore one of the Chaplin-esque hats above her smile and a full length version of the shorter dresses, this one all in black, with twisted shoulder straps. This marked this show’s final curtain: the director emerged to take his bow.