Giorgio Armani Privé celebrates girls in the bloom of youth
Giorgio Armani Privé's haute couture collection for Spring/Summer 2021 celebrates a certain kind of Milanese elegance. Channeling an aesthetic of simple, sober cuts, embellished with dainty details, the designer delicately played with transparencies and a restricted palette of well defined colors. The epitome of discreet luxury and Italian craftsmanship, the collection was unveiled in a video shot in Milan and presented on Paris Haute Couture Week's digital platform on Tuesday evening.
Stepping away from Paris' haute couture runways, Giorgio Armani had decided to stage his collection in Milan for the first time this season. In particular, the designer was eager to organize this show at the historic Palazzo Orsini, a 17th-century palace where he set up his brand's HQ in 1996. However, the Covid-19 pandemic had other ideas. Unable to host the event before a live audience, the fashion house therefore chose to send its models down the runway in front of the camera.
The video opens with bells ringing in the distance, as the camera flies over the palace, slowly sweeping around the courtyard, before diving down and plunging us into the building's interior. Having passed through the colonnade of the patio and ascended the grand staircase that leads to the first floor, we find ourselves contemplating a series of frescoes decorating a sumptuous reception room, which usually houses the brand's couture ateliers.
The floor is black and reflective, while the long wall running the length of the space is entirely covered by a mirror, creating the impression of the interior of a precious box, dimly lit by the diffuse light passing through high French windows. The mirror opens the space up and reflects the models back as they pass by.
Unadorned and totally at ease in their men's suits, the models, sporting simple berets atop lightly tousled hair, step into the room at a nonchalant pace that suggests an innate elegance. The collection revolves around balanced proportions and details which are sophisticated, but never extravagantly so. The pieces either flow or emphasize the models' bodies, dressing them with complete naturality.
These young women bring the Palazzo Orsini to life before our eyes, appearing to personify the Milanese nobles of old in their glittering and luxuriant looks. Certainly, some of them are dressed in pantsuits, but the menswear fabrics used in these gray-toned outfits are woven with silvery lurex threads to create a lamé effect.
The jackets, which are short and fitted, and sometimes open up without a collar to make a wide neckline, are embroidered with tiny crystals and close with bejeweled buttons. When worn with simple black sweaters, the suits appear even more opulent, while the glowing textures of the fabrics recall brocade or damask.
In the same chic and sober spirit, the models effortlessly pair trousers or black tops in satin or silk velvet with jackets or long, shining skirts in organza decorated with stones and sequins. Long strings of black pearls, knotted around the neck with a ribbon, fall the length of the models' torsos like a waistcoat. In certain pieces, tulle is used to cover a skirt or is attached at the shoulders, like a cape, enveloping the model's body and softening the overall shine.
Emphasis is placed on the shoulders, which are often lightly enhanced by jackets or puffed out in certain dresses, as well as on the neck, which is wrapped in imposing collars decorated with embroidery or crystal-encrusted netting. In a similar vein, some shawl collars are extended into flowers sculpted by fabric which is wound back around itself.
For the evening, there are more transparencies, which are still brightened by sparkling decorations and embroidery. Stylized embroidered flowers in red and blue sequins take over jackets and long organza skirts. Elsewhere, it's mauve sequins and pink pearls which invade a transparent chiffon top. The Armani woman oscillates between the warmth of magenta and the coolness of mint green, but ultimately, she chooses star-spangled midnight blue strapless maxi-dresses and luxurious outfits in Prussian blue.
And the party continues after night falls. In the bloom of youth, Armani's girls examine themselves furtively in the mirrors, passing gently by one another as though walking in an infinite loop. At midnight, the last model flees the scene, running through the darkened palace corridors in her diaphanous dress in cobalt blue tulle.
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