MILAN, Italy —Giorgio Armani promised “an echo of colours” in his new collection, a vision of nature filtered through human creativity and imagination. He called it “Earth”, and, for as long as it stayed grounded there, it was a reminder of how little effort it takes him to conjure up the Armani magic from a carefully edited palette — browns, blues, charcoal — and a silhouette softly sculpted from velvet, silk or sheerest wool. It’s like a uniform with him. The trimness of his jackets might even suit a chic cadet.
Earth gave it up for Ether as the collection began to shift into silvery shades of mist and fog. The fabrics became more diaphanous, but Armani counterpointed the light with dark, like the liquid black blouse paired with a sheer wrap skirt. It struck the kind of unlikely grace note that Armani mastered decades ago.
For the last stretch of the collection, the designer slipped the surly bonds of Earth for a mirage of pale blue and ice pink eveningwear. With long, sinuous coats, sheer dresses and transparent shoes and belts, the emphasis was on light — and lightness. Sequins shimmered, crystals sparkled. Armani wrapped his final looks in clouds of tulle. His models looked like slightly chilly angels. With these later collections from a fashion lion in winter, it’s tempting to follow a metaphor. From earth to heaven, and all that. But when he took his bow in his neat double-breasted navy suit, Armani looked just like the satisfied principal of a huge global concern for whom pale blue and ice pink are money in the bank rather than glimpses of the Great Beyond.