Giorgio Armani claimed inspiration for his new collection from the many homes he owns around the world, images of which were back-projected throughout the show. Given that he has houses in such enviably sunny spots as Antigua, Saint-Tropez, and Pantelleria—and this was a spring/summer collection—you might have expected a tour around Giorgio's World of White Linen. But in fact there was a dark formality to these clothes.

Aside from some gauzy drawstring pants that could pass muster on the beach, the designer essentially showed suits, or dressed-up re-combinations of jacket, trousers, and waistcoat. Like his peer Ralph Lauren, Armani is always making movies in his mind (front-row fan George Clooney underscored the connection). Here, for instance, his pairing of striped shirt, waistcoat, and slightly baggy pants looked like something that the boys in a classic Italian film would wear for Sunday best. The dark-rimmed eyes and slicked-back hair confirmed the impression.

Even Armani's monochrome palette has a cinematic quality, and given the grays and silvers he favored in this show, that was more the case than ever. Beneath the formality, though, there was still evidence of the designer's signature modern ease. He showed his pinstripes with white "techno" trainers developed in Japan, his dressy two-tone shoes had crepe soles, and his proposal for eveningwear included shirts and trousers in a dark linen so fine it flowed like silk.