The classically elegant collection peppered with unexpected flashes of pink and turquoise graced the runway during Paris Fashion Week in the one of a kind Italian Embassy.

“A sculptural, almost regal style.” Giorgio Armani’s press notes said it without spelling it out. In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, many millions around the world are under a royal spell. The haute couture, as rarefied as it is, reflects the culture back at us. The defining look of the season is discreet and dignified, while remaining quite deluxe.

Of course, this is not unfamiliar territory for Armani, whose masterful tailoring is matched by his red carpet artistry. Today, after years of shows in a windowless hall at the Palais de Chaillot, Armani moved his Privé presentation to Paris’s Italian embassy, a fitting location for this emissary of Milanese elegance. Let’s hope he stays put there. The first 50-odd looks of the show made good on the Armani legend. Cast in black and Champagne, his pantsuits and evening dresses were narrow of line and lacking in superfluous flourishes. Jackets were so streamlined most of them came sans lapels and pants were often cut in a silk that evoked the simplicity of pajamas.

Drama came by way of fabrication: the deep pile of black velvet contrasted against the metallic shimmer of a satin lamé bodice. When there was an eccentric flourish it was convincing, à la a head-covering point d’esprit crystal-embroidered cape.

But the spell didn’t quite last. Call it whimsy or call it Armani’s steely self-determination, but this show continued on for another 30 looks in shades of electric pink and turquoise. The abrupt volte-face of a pair of exuberant ostrich-feather capes was hard to reconcile with the smooth restraint of what came before. But as for what worked, royal watchers would pick Maria Borges’s black velvet one-sleeve column with crystal trim for the Duchess. It had body confidence and subtle finery in equilibrium. More

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