Entitled Cipria, or face powder, this lovingly precise Giorgio Armani collection’s foundation was his consideration of the personally intimate rituals of self-care and beautification. As has become customary, the show was held in the basement of Armani’s own palazzo: the 200-seat room has a faint but tangy scent of ozone that suggests some fabulous personal spa facility is not so far away. Almost as tangibly, the intimacy of the setting transmitted a supremely serene creative confidence, just as some of the more bombastic shows we are exposed to telegraph a lack of it.
The showspace was laid out in charcoal-veined marble tinted gray, off-white and blush pink. The lights came up to illuminate the first three models seated and standing on a cushioned bench, chatting, as if unobserved in a powder room. Then the first model swiveled decisively and walked out in the first look of 74; she wore a black beret (there were many more ahead), a loose one-buttoned trench and a high-rise track pant in camel, and black patent toed oxfords. As upon all the models, a gentle spectrum of carefully applied color bloomed around her eyes.
There were several key ingredients and processes in this Armani collection’s formula, which presented inter-related groups of looks that seemed often to be signified by the choice of earring. The two key decorative motifs were a sketched flower and an abstract group of finger painted lines in the same colors as the marble: those patent toed flats and perspex heeled sandals sometimes matched the surface they stepped on near-exactly. There was a side serving of leopard—a rare spot at Armani—that was prefaced by a cappuccino-colored silk pantsuit and high jacket that featured abstract spots that could either have been animalia or based on blotted lipstick prints.
Texture was a focus-point for experimentation; slivers of faux fur were cut against angular strips of silk in a jacket whose contours mirrored the angular resin bangles whose colors again reflected the baseline palette. Several garments including wraps and hats were edged with generous fringing. A short, black-armed jacket was fronted with slivers of pink fabric placed around black diamonds to create a pattern that, as at the menswear show this season, evoked typical Milanese domestic decoration.
Tailoring pieces were inflected by Asian traditional shapes, a decades-old Armani reference point. Outerwear tailored pieces were consistently cut with two high vents running up to each hem in order to create free and easy movement. At the last a model came out in a fringed hat and full length dress in narrow strips of what looked like leather and a black crepe etched periodically with crystals. As she walked she held up her compact and considered her makeup. Mr Armani rarely strays from his lane, but why should he? After all, it was he who built the road in the first place.