At Giorgio Armani, lush iridescence; at Sportmax, femme fatale fun
A study in contrasts on Saturday morning at Milan Fashion Week, as two key fashion marques played against their reputations. Giorgio Armani showing evening ideas but as daywear, Sportmax revolutionizing its DNA.
Two shows in one at Giorgio Armani: couples – women and men – marching in multiple passages, in a show that began unusually with evening wear.
Girls in a great array of iridescent tops, soap bubble effects and ruffled floral shapes. Guys in band collar Chinese shirts under viscose velvet jackets.
Light dancing off half the collection, presented in a video shot inside Armani’s Milan headquarters. Fluid tailoring throughout – the ladies in mixes of crepe dhotis and silk jodhpurs, worn over soft-shouldered blazers or several great smock-like tunics. Giorgio’s reputation as fashion’s best tailor this past half-century is not under threat after this imaginative performance.
And talk about a great color palette – aquatic hues, greens with turquoise reflections, pale purples and soft pinks – unexpected in a Fall/Winter 2021 collection.
At times, some of the parachute fabrics looked as if the designer was trying too hard. But better that than playing safe.
For cerebral soirées the sparkling coal-dust-like tuxedos and black velvet coat dresses with wing collars reeked of class, leavened with a touch of humor – a black and white portrait of a youthful Giorgio printed on a cocktail dress.
"The collection unfolds with a nocturnal ambience, but also in the middle of the day… a structured wardrobe, a collection of garments that, when updated, span the decades in rapid transitions," explained the designer in his program notes.
At the opening, a glowering green gorilla statue looked down over the score of leggy models as they marched into the show. And the finale, the heavy weight champ of Italian designers, Armani, posed beaming, before leaning on his eco King Kong.
A new, naughtier nighttime gal at Sportmax.
What was previously the well-behaved cousin of the more mature Max Mara, is now her devil-may-care younger sister. A femme fatale likely to turn the head of big sister’s beaux.
The set said it all: multiple chandeliers – several lying on the ground – in a dark night club space where the cast slinked around on the prowl.
Long Lycra skirts with rocker leather shirts or blousons, racy bra tops and semi-sheer looks, as the kid sister set off determined to have some fun post lockdown. Beatle mop top or waxy hairdos, mini cross earrings, big seductress shades.
Later, femme fatales at a gallery opening in sleek gloves; leather dresses finished with electric cable necklaces; faux-cheongsam coats or saucy tie-dye one-shoulder gallerina looks worn with bovver boots.
All marking a significant change of gears for the label. Even the skinny cardigans looked suggestive, finished with hook-and-eye lingerie detailing. Though there was plenty in the collection for more serious moments – gray metal suits cut with chauffeur’s jackets and drainpipe pants, or perfectly draped mannish top coats.
Great to see Sportmax make such an impact in a show that ended with the cast dancing in a trance under the crystal chandeliers. Predicting that when the long nightmare of the pandemic ends, women will be yearning to enjoy and control their lives fully.
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