Giorgio Armani has a new focus. "Women want to be diverse, not to follow a standardized look," he said of his fall show. "They want to be motivated by something special. That's why they've started looking for vintage pieces." Inspired by what he called "a vague feeling for the 1900s, and Visconti's film The Damned," he sent out a romantic assembly of looks designed to be remixed by the wearer, rather than imposed as top-to-toe solutions.

Armani drew a long, supple silhouette with dresses, coats, and jackets that were cut close to the body and gently fluted toward the hem. Standouts included laser-cut and printed velvet pieces, scalloped-edge lace jackets, beaded halter dresses, and crystal-encrusted evening jackets crafted as softly as blouses. Huge sparkling brooches underscored the air of decadent eccentricity that is fast becoming the look of the season. Among the rich, couturelike handwork that has long distinguished Armani's evening looks, he also sent out a selection of his luxurious signature streetwear in the form of ankle-skimming, vaguely Napoleonic coats.

In condensing this show to a 20-minute sampling of his vast collection, Armani embraced the eclecticism that is a ruling factor in fashion right now. It looked like a beautiful step forward.