has often seemed oceans away from the rest of Milanese fashion. But this season he brought his sea view to the runway — both as light-as-spray clothes and as a backdrop projection.
A film by Paolo Sorrentino, known for his movie La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), showed the seashores of the Lipari and Stromboli volcanic islands off Sicily.
Onscreen was the deep blue swell of the sea, a dog larking about on a rough beach and the slightly disturbing vision of a swimming-costumed couple entangled in naval ropes.
This all took the Armani collection into an area that the designer has visited before — but never with such a light breeziness.
The title was “Sand”, but when the models lined up with the maestro for an after-show picture, the effect was a wider reflection of the shore: sky blue for a jacket, or paler, faded shades including sandy beige, and a cluster of animal prints.
These zebra and leopard patterns — faintly printed on gauzy fabric — opened the show, while it was closed by a mysterious figure: a goddess of the sand in sparkling beige chiffon.
What came between was light Armani: tailored jackets in transparent fabrics with silk fringe finishing an outfit. Trousers were semi-sheer, morphing at one point into pantaloons. Long skirts with shadowy tiger-stripe patterns seemed more appealing.
Like many designers this season, Armani had necklets of gilded metal with an antique feel; and there was also a draped chiffon dress that was something between a sari and a Grecian robe.
While the show was quite different to his more familiar summer-in-the-city collections, it was unmistakably Armani. He is a designer who is always reaching out and never buries his head in the sand.