On the checkerboard marble runway at Giorgio Armani Privé’s Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 collection presentation, the 88-year-old Italian couturier offered a proposition to the perennial adage: “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
In Paris, and over 67 looks, Mr. Armani affixed new meaning to the perpetually romantic symbol. In the salon of Giorgio Armani Privé, the Maison argued that not only is the botanical motif a saccharine declaration of love, but a mystifying and alluring sigil with a significance so rich and universal.
The rose, in Giorgio Armani Privé’s eyes, is something to beguile, be besotted with, and one that is a bodily emblem of lust. A “carnal, seductive, mysterious bloom of red roses,” as the luxuriate put it in a post-show release. His evidence? The almost 70-something sartorial bouquet of roses he sent down the runway.
If you were in the city of lights this time last spring, just as the pink Magnolia trees and canary yellow tulips are first in bloom in the Tuileries Garden, you would’ve noticed another sort of floral arising from the street: the rosette.
The style became a symbol of sensuality, often accenting sheer gowns, but on Giorgio Armani Privé’s runway, the embellishment doesn’t adhere to these contrived confines. Instead, it’s used with quiet restraint, aiding Giorgio Armani Privé’s intention of reinterpreting “the most iconic of flowers without resorting to trite romanticism”.
The first hints that Mr. Armani would be eschewing the conventional codes of the rose symbol came in the red lacquered invitations and high-shine boxes from the “Far East” sent out to his select guests, including Sydney Sweeney, Kate Hudson, Camille Razat and Emma Thompson.
The collection’s first few looks provided a reprieve from a traditional floral-oriented collection and focused on exemplifying Armani Privé’s prowess in the field of sumptuous evening-wear.
Blazers cut to the tune of slinky smoking jackets featured a midnight metallic finish, evoking the sense of the moon’s reflection on the water’s edge, yet leaving just enough room for a floral embellish to peak through the lapel. Champagne-coloured trousers were tailored with precise fluidity to conjure the feeling of constant movement. Giorgio Armani Privé’s women are no shrinking violets, after all.
Later, after a solid display of Mr. Armani’s softly suited repertoire, the red rose became more prolific, appearing embossed into jacquard trousers, embroidered in thick, ornamental sequins into dresses or pinned, more discernably, as glossy, lacquered flowers.
Silhouettes ranged from elegantly modest to skin-tight and sensual, proving why Mr. Armani’s penchant for exceptional glamour places him in a league of his own.
Rather than being influenced by micro trends or the exponential pace of fashion, Giorgio Armani Privé supplies overstated sophistication to the nth degree. If there were any hints that Giorgio Armani Privé we’re exploring designing a “stealth wealth” uniform there were no signs of it on this runway, with designs vividly luxurious and rich making for an unwavering glistening display of sparkling radiance.
Underpinning the collection was a firm resolve to elongated silhouettes and a “journey from West to East”. Of the latter, traditional embroidery techniques were used to meld these two cultures together with Eastern silhouettes styled with Western sartorial staples.
At times, the grandiose use of embellishment did slightly overwhelm, invoking the sequin-laden gowns of the roaring 20s, but overall the ornate details provided a reprieve from the understated and minimal “quiet luxury” aesthetic we’ve seen saturate the runways for the past few seasons.
If anything, Giorgio Armani Privé’s collection was ethereal repose through Armani’s enchanted rose garden.
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This story first appeared on GRAZIA International.