Giorgio Armani is back on top, though, arguably, he never really relinquished his loft perch atop the reigning kings of Milanese ready-to-wear, the last few years have not seen him pack quite the same sartorial punch that earned him that top dog spot throughout the eighties and nineties in the first place. Tonight, quite literally, he reached for the stars. Turning out a celestial collection entitled “Kaleidoscope,” Mr. Armani played with the nuance of light and shine, particularly the explosive refraction of light when bent, separated and illuminated through a prism. It began with endless incarnations of liquid silk suits in slate grey, fluid in gossamer and organza, mixed in with light overcoat. Beautifully tailored jackets spun from transparent, reflective yarns paired with flowing trousers and finished off with masculine polished patent brogues flashing silver at the heel or delicate stilettos with crystal touches.
Descending into evening, sparkle took centre stage as the collection opened up into constellation after constellation of exquisite gowns and loose evening trouser suits. Each twinkling crystals shone out in the darkness of the Teatro Armani creating the illusion that the girls were wrapped in twinkling stars rather than silks. In a word, it was transcendent. And speaking of transcending, Armani’s full-throttled push of nonchalant modern elegance in its purest form for his new collection no doubt looped back into the launch of a small, in-house retrospective taking place next door to the catwalk space. “Eccentrica” the exhibition put on display some of the Maestro’s more dazzling pieces from the Prive couture line, fine jewellery range and couture custom-made pieces for Lady Gaga. Shrouded in darkness save for the beams of light illuminating just the beaded bodices of exquisitely wrought couture creations, countless and hand-sewn beads shimmering in the darkness like artefacts from a long-ago lost world rather than a mere decade or even less. Stars decorated the room, tying the rare glimpse into the archive full circle with the Spring Summer 2013 collection and Mr. Armani’s own positioning as a designer within fashion’s Milky Milanese Way: all these years and years later, Giorgio Armani is not only a guiding fixture in Italy’s sartorial celestials, but it’s brightest shining star.