January 22, 2006 Paris
Armani is at his best when he lays off the hats and bags, i.e., when he┐s not trying to perform to the done-up Parisian standard. A couple of slight halter dresses in nude, oyster, and mushroom with vertical pleats running through the front and falling into narrow chevron-beaded skirts were deliciously light-handed. A sparkling silver sequined blazer and a rigorous black lace bolero with lean, high-waist matador pants came loaded with all the couture-grade handwork a girl could dream of, yet still looked believably modern.
True, you had to turn a blind eye to some sallies in hot pink and coral tiers, as well as a sudden outburst of fussy 3-D geometric pleating, but even those couldn┐t distract from the impact of two brilliantly simple bugle-beaded pajama pantsuits. Vintage Armani, they were a stroke of genius that showed himin this moment of eighties revivalismknowingly reprising himself. As a red-carpet alternative for a young starlet, either of those could be the coolest choice out there.