Giorgio Armani called his collection Nude, which, with its hint of nothing to hide, its promise of revelation, was an intriguing taster. "Pure elegance, what's on the inside," he said after the show, when he could get a word in edgewise between the celebs and clients wedging themselves beside him for a photo op.
Elegant it most certainly was: The models with their Dietrich swoop of hair, the color palette with its pearlescent Art Deco glow, the dresses that came in elongated columns or flaring volumes, Old Hollywood reborn. Armani's greatest triumphs as a designer have been fueled by instinct and yearning, and this collection dovetailed effortlessly with his dreams. Starting with soft, sinuous daywear and fading out in the gauzy tranquility of tulle and lace eveningwear, there was an insinuating luxe, calme, et volupté to the presentation. "Nude" was the excuse for a pale neutral so toned to his models' natural hue that it was hard to tell where fabric ended and skin began. That illusion was unusually sensuous for this designer, but it was only the most extreme expression of a tendency that has crept into his work. Let's call it late-period Armani, the artist in his prodigiously creative twilight, tweaking a lifetime of experience. God knows it doesn't always work. There have been times when his experiments induced befuddlement. Today was most definitely not one of those.
In fact, to look at a day bracketed by Lagerfeld and Armani, you could almost believe that life really does begin at some point far down the temporal turnpike.