MILAN — Giorgio Armani had the last word at Milan Fashion Week, which wrapped up six days of womenswear previews for next spring and summer on Monday, launching a book that looks back on his life.
Armani, one of the founders of the Milan ready-to-wear scene, celebrates 40 years of his fashion house this year, and he said he wrote the book because "inside of me there are memories and sensations that I needed to let out." But the 81-year-old designer said the book was less than an autobiography, which he still intends to write, describing it instead as text accompanying photographs.
"An autobiography involves people that are close to you and you don't always feel authorized to expose them," he said.
Armani's long-time friend Sofia Loren sat in the front row both for his runway show and the book presentation. The 81-year-old actress said she planned to take the book on vacation to read. Asked if she expected to find surprises, she replied: "It's possible. You never know."
Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, who introduced the book, credited Armani with being a revolutionary in the fashion world and praised him for never falling prey to some of fashion's more vulgar tendencies.
"I think it is probably very hard for a generation much younger than me, who was brought up on stretch fabric and bomber jackets to believe that a comfortable jacket was actually a revolution," Menkes said.
She said the principle behind Armani's creations "was to make women and men to look good but look free, to feel free, to be energetic."
The hefty volume is being published this week by Italian publishing house Rizzoli in both English and Italian.
Giorgio Armani took a fresh direction for his next collection, designing gauzy pants that lightly reveal the body and jackets that wrap the figure.
The colors were also a departure for Armani, with a calm red the sexy protagonist, setting off accompanying shades of blue, white and silver.
"The focus is on the body, revealed by a play on elegant veils," the designer notes said.
The technical organza created see-through but structured trousers, shorts and skirts for day and evening that formed the centerpiece of the collection, anchoring elegant looks with open swing jackets with liberating three-quarter sleeves and organza tops. Ribbed organza trousers were sometimes worn under skirts and dresses for a textured effect, while what appears to be a silken mini-dress is actually a jumpsuit that reveals the legs. A wavy big-brimmed made a statement.
Armani's nighttime collection received multiple rounds of applause form the fashion crowd, primarily for the jackets elaborately embroidered with beads and crystals paired with Bermuda shorts. To end the show, three models swirled down the runway in black evening dresses to show off a cloud of red organza peeking from the hemline.
"I have to say that this collection here is very fun, very beautiful, different than his usual things. The colors are fantastic," Loren said.
The young woman expresses a sense of ennui as she lounges on a velvet chair, dressed in satiny shorts and polo shirts, shoeless in ankle socks. Live music by British singer Jordan Hunt emphasizes the fragility of the moment.
The scene is emblematic of that passage from girlhood to womanhood that Austrian-born Arthur Arbesser was working to capture in his debut Milan runway collection. "Lolita" is the obvious reference. Live music by British singer Jordan Hunt during the runway show emphasized the fragility of the moment.
"She is very unaware of her charm of her beauty, of her appeal," Arbesser said backstage before the show, adding that he focused the collection on elements "that are fragile very transparent, event things that are very naive."
The silhouette of the collection is simple, with familiar scholastic elements like school-girl collars and polo shirts out of materials that offer a sense of comfort, including knitwear and muslin. She wears a crocheted striped mini-dress in infantile lavender and baby blue stripes set off by red. There's also a full white skirt with a proud-sitting white cat that fades into the background, paired with a transparent mesh polo, which off the runway would be worn with a camisole.
Arbesser is having quite a coming out during Milan Fashion Week. The 33-year-old Austrian-born designer who spent seven years at Armani made his debut as creative director at the well-established label Iceberg, which is rooted in knitwear, and as well as bringing his eponymous brand to the runway for the first time.
"What is very important for me is that they are two different worlds," Arbesser said.