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Giorgio Armani Privé

Beautiful. A capsule of the designer at his best, which is to say signature, chic and very current. Remember when Armani virtually invented power dressing? This collection paid healthy tribute to that invention without getting suffocated by it. The...

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Beautiful. A capsule of the designer at his best, which is to say signature, chic and very current. Remember when Armani virtually invented power dressing? This collection paid healthy tribute to that invention without getting suffocated by it. The Power Woman, he seemed to say, is still around, but her hard-won confidence allows her to work a softer, more glamorous, look. Think Lauren Bacall or Cate Blanchett, in the boardroom, her trapeze-cut jacket flying loosely over snappy cropped trousers with manageable pleats.

The good news started with restraint. For all its relaxed air, this collection was incredibly precise with nary a gratuitous move. He kept the lines clean, the fabrics substantial and the colors to the crisp side of neutral, strong on clean grays and shots of gentle cosmetic pinks. Within this clearly articulated vision, he offered plenty of choice, countering those loose-back toppers with lean, razor-sharp alternatives. Ditto his coats: the ease of a long cardiganlike fur countered by a dramatic princess-line velvet coat piped in rows of satin. As for decoration, it was simple but significant. One jacket closed with a geometric clasp at the waist; another, with a large flat bow positioned on the shoulder. In fact, bows were something of a motif, on beribboned waists, metal broaches and deftly handled, cartoonish bow ties.

Evening was a glam fest of chic black gowns with ample curvature and pale, delicately embroidered beauties to suit the well-heeled ingénue and high-wattage movie star alike. It all made one hope for a sequel of the not-quite-haute variety, come February in Milan.

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