Giorgio Armani had just the words for the bamboo that was the leitmotif of his collection and his runway.
“Bamboo is strong but it can bend,” said the designer, referencing the pliable foliage that swayed through the Armani Privé collection, as though a gentle breeze were blowing through some Asiatic paradise.
Armani has always had a penchant for the East. But despite an Oriental twang to the soundtrack, these were not clothes that shrieked of an Asian origin. Not that this quiet and gentle collection shouted in any way to the designer’s many front row clients.
And though coming from disparate backgrounds — Kristin Scott Thomas, Robin Wright and actresses Sonam Kapoor from India and Paz Vega from Spain — all pushed backstage while looking enthusiastic about the show.
“Those loose trousers,” said Scott Thomas, referring to the flowy and languorous pants that swayed like a forest of tender stems under short or long fitted jackets.
We have seen this look before from the designer, but he has refreshed it with delicate attention to detail.
Armani will celebrate 40 years in fashion in March, and, although Armani Privé has had a shorter life, this show seemed to sum up what the maestro stands for: something akin to bamboo in his quiet strength.
So these were clothes to wear with a casual elegance: each outfit beautifully accessorised with translucent earrings of Asiatic decoration, and bags that were often glassy and transparent.
There might be feathery effects to frame the torso, but little obvious decoration, and often the sense of a shower of water falling over the body. The colours, including shades of green, blue and aquamarine put the collection in an elegant seascape.
Inevitably, there was a pause — although it was not necessary — between day, holiday and evening wear. Yet even with more decoration for the Academy Award pieces, really any of these outfits could have graced the red carpet. And ‘grace’ is the word that sums up Armani’s collection.