All that was missing was the campfire as Armani unleashed the ‘Giorgio Gipsy’, his most provocative muse yet, at Milan Fashion Week yesterday (Monday).
Dripping in fringes, with a crystal sarong knotted around her breasts and a peasant-girl scarf knotted over her long hair, Armani’s nomadic traveller glided sensuously down the catwalk in jeweled sandals so delicate she was almost barefoot.
The designer took his inspiration from the remote southern islands of Italy, such as Pantelleria, where he has a home, and wove a collection of sensual, lustrous beauty from a single accessory — the scarf.
In rich cypress-greens or watercolour silks, orchid-printed chiffon or fine metallic lace, the scarf became a short dress, a one-sleeved tunic or a slinky camisole.
Sometimes, the scarf was transformed into a low-slung skirt, with tiers of silk fringing quivering around the legs. At other times, it returned to its natural tradition and became a huge, elaborately tasseled shawl.
Draped over the shoulders, it suggested, but never entirely revealed the crystal bra-tops worn with silk, ‘dhoti’ trousers, knotted below the knees; nor did it completely conceal the brilliance of the sinuous, beaded, strapless dresses underneath, knotted at the cleavage and caught-up on one hip to show a glimpse of ankle.
The scarf was also the key accessory of this spring/summer collection. Embroidered with shimmering sequins, worked in glitter-mesh or else in plain silk, it covered the heads of all the girls, or in fisherman-style silk net, was tucked into the necklines of draped blouses.
The languid exotica of the collection even extended to the daywear, where shrunken bolero jackets and spencers came with variations on the sarong-trouser, all in silk, in tones of stone and gravel, and all accessorized with the essential ‘Giorgio Gipsy’ scarf.
But for all his romantic vision of the de luxe gipsy “yearning for a life more closely tied to the rhythms of nature”, as he explained it, Armani equally demonstrated he has one foot planted firmly in fast-forward, hi-technology, announcing the same day, a new collaboration with the Japanese electronic giant, Samsung, for a range of mobile phones and flat-screen televisions.
Earlier, the design team of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana took inspiration from the Glastonbury Festival for their younger, streetwise line, D&G.
This called for patchwork smocks and long ‘Haight Ashbury’ maxi- dresses in floral chiffon, and frayed and patchwork denim bell-bottoms and mini-skirts worn with men’s blazers and boyfriend-cardigans.
But where were the wellies? All the models wore flat, rawhide “gladiator” sandals: it was obviously a fantasy “Glasto” without the mud.