Giorgio Armani is one of the few living designers who still care to address the needs of a professional woman in search of a suit. For spring, he applied himself to softening up the staple in a variety of ways. A gray suit was given a younger feel with the addition of a hip, stripy underpiece, while pants became more casual via elastic waists or drawstring details at the ankle. More surprising—especially for the man who pioneered androgynous ease in women’s tailoring—was his latest suggestion for a skirt to put under a jacket: a tight, sexy knee-length pencil in satin.

Armani's eveningwear attracts a big following as well—and the reason was lined up in the front row of his show, where celebrities Kim Cattrall, Tina Turner and Sophia Loren were scanning the runway for red-carpet suggestions. The designer offered them a huge range of possibilities, made of subtle Italian fabrics, often with an Oriental flavor to the cut and color. From long skirts paired with tiny, supple leather jackets right through to strapless and beaded gowns, the best moments were the simple ones. The standout? A dramatic body-skimming floor-length column in caf┐ au lait jersey.