"Aesthetics and shapes have been chosen to update the somewhat theatrical impact of eighties-style fashion," read Giorgio Armani's program notes. Fashion is obsessed all over again with that decade, and who better to revisit the era than the man who put his own stamp on it? Armani recaptured the power-woman vibe of the time via patent leather berets and gloves, wide belts, fire-engine red lips, and a soundtrack that featured a Grace Jones tune and a medley of Tina Turner hits.

There was nothing really retro about this show, though—aside from the very old-school turns the designer's models made halfway down the runway, the better to show off his swingy knit capes. Peel away the accessories and the makeup, and what remained was the soft tailoring and sparkly evening looks Armani has never stopped doing. Jackets were cut slim, smart, and fitted. The best of the bunch came sans lapels, with a single button in front and a little flare in back, although a silver crocodile stamped leather number was also an eye-catcher. The leggings-tight, slightly cropped trousers may be too unforgiving for many customers, but there were also inverted-pleat tulip skirts worn with opaque black tights.

At the Oscars, Armani demonstrated his range, dressing both Sophia Loren and Anne Hathaway. The crystal-studded flat satin boots he showed here won't make it from the runway to the red carpet, but the bejeweled slipdresses and one-shoulder looks in shades of gray are a convincing argument that, whatever the decade, this designer knows how to work a winning formula.