Need a beaded, shimmering, once-in-a-lifetime gown? Put Giorgio Armani at the top of your shopping list. The finale of his show summed up a lifetime's dedication to defining and refining the starry impact of his crystal-frosted column. For spring, those dresses captured a beautiful fragility in barely-there shadings of ivory, champagne, mushroom, and mauve. Finely layered chiffon and tulle, picked out with minute embroideries of bugle beads and sequins, qualified each one as a singular piece of signature Armani. (We could have done without the hats—a lot less modern-looking than the sleek, oiled, silent-movie hairstyles sported by the rest of the models—but that's a minor quibble.)

With this collection, the designer said that he had resolved to focus on what women really wear today. On the runway, that translated into soft tailoring and skirts, either tiered or of the floppy tulip variety—all familiar Armani territory. Where he's really amping up his contemporary awareness, though, is in another direction. For the first time, each and every one in his army of models was clutching a different bag. After claiming the night as his own, Mr. Armani is letting it be known he's intent on staking a claim on the handbag business.