"I invented navy blue," said Giorgio Armani. The T.V. cameras were
rolling in his attic office on the via Borgonuovo as the designer was
carefully describing his power position in the fashion world to Estelle
Colin, a French television journalist preparing an hour-long documentary on
Armani. OK, so navy blue (and also beige) do essentially belong to Armani in
fashion terms, especially during his heyday in the '70s and '80s when, as he
puts it, he "gave something to women who work." And his show on
Monday was a success precisely because he went back to those old blues and
whipped them up in a more casual, relevant shrunken style. The first four
jackets worn over slouchy silk satin pants were just what his
customer will be looking for next spring. Armani also outdid himself on the
eveningwear a grand finale of beaded dresses in soft shades of nude and
pale pink will give Hollywood stylists something to speed-dial about.
Monday in Milan was a day for big brands. Brioni made a daring splash with a
collection the designer Cristina Ortiz called "OrganiCouture." There
were some interesting shapes and fabrics: oversized white leather overalls, a
metallic (a big trend this week) bronze trench, and hand-stitched silver
staples on seams. Ortiz is talented, it's just a question of what this
house of tailoring tradition wants to be.
Christopher Bailey, another young fashion talent, knows exactly what he wants
the Burberry brand to be: a very commercial interpretation of what a trendy
Londoner's wardrobe might look like. It works, from the bouncy washed
linen swing coats to the dusty rose dresses and the silver metallic
accessories. Dusty rose, by the way, is the color for spring. Not navy blue.