It often takes a while for the rhythm of an Armani collection to get a grip. Tonight's Armani Privé couture show, the fulcrum of yet another of Giorgio Armani's One Night Only spectaculars, was no exception. The beginning was casual, tentative: little silk tops with plissé pants or skirts, a silk jacquard blazer paired with a gazar skirt. Then a new dimension kicked in. The models—heads wrapped in scarves, with dangly earrings, in full skirts and low-heeled shoes—began to evoke the gypsy spirit of arch fashion icon Loulou de la Falaise. That is hallowed ground for any designer, given de la Falaise's goddess/muse status with Yves Saint Laurent. You have to be a titan to take it on. Armani clearly has the cojones to claim the look.
He did it with his default position: navy blue. It's nonsense that this man is permanently damned with greige. It's North African navy where he has found his sweet spot—the midnight blue of a velvety desert sky, untroubled by ambient light, alive with stars. Tonight's collection, named Nomade for all the tribes who drift under heaven's dome, moved on from midnight to gloss the silveriness of those stars with a Byzantine decorative edge. Alana Zimmer in a sheath of silver with Swarovski-studded bodice and head tightly bound in crystals looked like a Hollywood vamp. It was enough to make you wonder whether the play of dark and light in an Armani collection isn't ultimately all about the boy Giorgio alone in a movie theater while war rages outside. And if this is the way he exorcises his demons, then all power to him.