Last season, Giorgio Armani surprised everybody by presenting a collection composed almost exclusively of mauve organza. The exercise proved tricky, but the Italian designer is as prone to bouts of unexpected experimentation as he is to moments of unadulterated classicism. This time, it was the latter. Black velvet as the main theme for a collection sounds hardly exciting, but when executed in perfect understatement and justesse, it becomes synonymous with chic.
It helped that Cate Blanchett, muse to Armani’s perfume campaigns and red carpet goddess that simply can do no wrong when it comes to sartorial choices, was in the house. She has a no-nonsense approach to fashion, and so does Giorgio. He started the show with a series of tailoring looks, playing with houndstooth-like motifs and proportions, and introduced his beloved black velvet progressively in straight-leg trousers and harem pants (the single most ‘fashion’ item in the collection). Evening dresses were mostly black, and almost monastically simple, yet looked sumptuous thanks to the well-executed proportions. One long-sleeved dress with a deep V-neck was particularly striking, and will probably pop up in a red carpet somewhere during the season, perhaps worn by Blanchett. The finale was another minimal, long sleeved sequined dress. Simple yet effective. Like Giorgio Armani doing what Giorgio Armani does best.