Old Hollywood has had a hold on Giorgio Armani since he was a boy. His first suit today—the skirt limning the body, then flaring out just below the knee; the draped jacket with the definite shoulder; the crepe silk overcoat thrown insouciantly over the lot—could have been Carmen Kass playing Carole Lombard (with Sharon Tate's hair). Even the shoes with their thick Perspex heels chipped in. The outfit set the pace for the designer's Armani Privé show—not retro but remarkably restrained and businesslike, with a subtle monochrome feel that was underscored by the many shades of brown on display, reflecting the theme "A Play on Amber."

The draped jacket and skirt combination is an Armani classic, of course. Here, he emphasized fluidity, exaggerating and softening the drape, extending one scarf collar over a shoulder and fastening it with a large wood and amber brooch. He also offered a handful of coats as alternatives, one as soft as a cardigan in cashmere and belted at the throat, another studded with crystals, and a third in camel to be worn over a broad-shouldered, belted crocodile jacket that exemplified Armani luxe.

For evening, he elaborated on the drape still further, with cascading folds of silk satin. And he made his amber theme sparkle, ladling sequins over goddess and mermaid dresses. Karlie Kloss shimmered in hers, the draping lending a sinuous mobility to the dress as she walked. It was just enough to make one wish there'd been more "play" and less "amber" in the show.