Giorgio Armani has often spoken out in favor of eccentricity lately, and there's been something rather charming about his efforts to express it in his shows. His spring 2006 collection featured one rather eyebrow-raising moment, when a harem of lithe young men took to the catwalk in baggy trousers with a trio of toe-rings on each foot. But in the context of this show, the gesture sort of made sense, serving to underscore the almost louche glamour of many of the clothesthe sheer jersey tunics, for instance, or the languidly wrapped tops, also in jersey.
Although Armani had decreed that there would be no formal suits in the collection, there was a sprinkling of night-for-day elementsa tuxedo lapel on a silk jacket, a shiny glaze on dull paisley, cummerbund-like wraps replacing belts, and trompe l'oeil bow ties hanging loose. The dominant mood was a relaxed dressiness, as in a crinkled linen suit worn with woven leather huaraches. Still, Armani is much too canny ever to let the raison d'être of his business get away from him. He showed jackets every which way: cut close to the body, entirely deconstructed, and shorter, with a higher waistline. He closed with one last indulgence: a gang of boys riding bikes to the tune of Queen's "Bicycle Race."