Any fashion mogul worth his empire has his sights set on Asia, and Giorgio Armani is no exception. He's spent a good chunk of the past year exploring that part of the world, where boom sales are being predicted for luxury brands like his. That explains why India was on his mind for Emporio Armani. "I think it's the next place we will go," he said, referring to an expansion plan that follows his recent boutique openings in China.
The subcontinental drift was the keynote for a collection that filtered elements of raj-meets-ethnic costume through his highly recognizable Italian sensibility. The positive was that he took a relaxed point of view, using light, crinkled, sometimes metallic fabrics from a washed-out palette of white, beige, ivory, and dusty gray. That, allied to a sensitivity toward curvy, gentle shapes, gave a believably contemporary edge to his body-hugging jackets, which come with petallike peplums, as fluted boleros, wispy blousons, andas always in an Emporio showin many, many other airsor ragas, as the case may be.
All these summery pieces will live easily with today's pick-and-mix fashion attitudes. Below the waist, though, it's more complicated. The Indian theme led to thoughts of polo, meaning jodhpurs and puttees. The former came in parachute silk, the latter in everything from beige bindings to, eventually, casings of black leather for evening. Occasionally, there was a diversion into handkerchief-point skirts over harem pants. Suffice it to say, in a woman's world, extraneous flights of creativity in pants, whatever the theme, are better kept grounded.