Giorgio Armani Spring Summer 2019 “The Shape of Color” Milan Fashion Week. While the title of the show might have foreshadowed something bombastic, Armani went contrary to that more obvious expectation. His invitation often hints at his direction and did so here — an image of a fabric piece, its icy pink and silver shadow stripes arranged in soft folds. In fact, silvery gray formed the base of the collection. It came in materials shot with luminescence and reflective of the amorphous pinks and blues in delicate metallics and embroideries, with which it was often combined. Most fabrics were airy enough so that even those with innate structure retained a sense of movement, which, combined with the plays of light, created a discreet, otherworldly subtext. Accent on the discreet, because, as always in Armaniland, these were clothes for the designer’s ladies not only to dream about, but to wear.
The collection felt subaquatic. In the darkened Armani theater, the opening section of spotlighted silver semi-transparent pieces—sometimes softly strafed with whorls of smokily muted color—seemed to flit down the runway. A coat of woven strips of leather had a sharkish toughness. A pink-edged, coral-like wide-brimmed hat and a pink-edged encrustation of ruffle on the chest of a dress signaled the dive into this collection’s central exploration of color and texture.
Layered metal and plastic jewelry plus the net-like bags and shoes with slick and shiny uppers of scrunched PVC added an undersea otherworldliness in tandem with the models’ bunched, salty Pre-Raphaelite hair. A balloon-hemmed vest top teamed with pants of reflective, liquid-like organza was patterned with circular multicolored sequins that resembled a rainbow of raindrops on water. The model in a pink bomber decorated with oyster-shell gray and pink embellishment and a triple-layered, ruffle-detail gray skirt handily caught an anemone-esque pinned earring as it fell loose from her left ear.
By the end, we were voyaging in mermaid territory: The opaquely multicolored sheen, reef-like banks of ruffle, and silver fish-skin shine of Armani’s often multilayered fabrications combined beguilingly. This was a collection to dive into.