Armani Romances India in Milan

The Raj, in its designer passage, has charmed 70-year old Giorgio Armani, global fashion’s seasoned statesman. Billowing white drapes from the ceiling to catwalk, with the insistent rhythm of sitar and tabla in the backdrop, Armani unveiled his new Emporio Lines at Milan’s Fashion Week, turning the clock back to The India of the final years of the British rule.

It was not just another take on the hippy trail but something really mesmerizing. To those watching the master at work, the serenading of India came as no surprise, and was an indication of the better, bigger and nicer things to come.

Armani’s passion for India is well known. He toured the country five years ago in a white Mercedes Limousine and was enchanted by the energy of Indians and the aura of its landscape and history.

His Milan show encompassed everything from bejewelled maharajas to the dancing girls in gauze-like silks and polo-playing princes. The programme notes featured the Emporio Armani logo inside a stylized lotus blossom, in a typeface that resembled the Devnagari script.

The 19th century style jodhpurs, cut full around the hips and tight from the knees to the ankles, were predominantly in crisp white cottons for the day, teamed with narrow- shouldered, tight-fitting bodices and jackets, in delicate fabrics, often ruffled or creased, in shades like that of sand, biscuit, stone and ivory. This key silhouette, the slim, short jacket over a long, loose blouse or shirt, with trousers beneath tapering to the ankle was, Armani said, inspired by the contemporary India. Nehru collars, always an Armani favourite, were very summery in white.

Gradually, Armani let some colour creep in, cobalt, cyclamen pink and an intense vivid blue which he said reminded him of the Indian night sky, and prints in the same hues.

For evening, softer tailoring was called for, like the traditional Indian combination of long tunic pants or layers of sensuous chiffon swathing the hips, and lots of tone-on-tone embroidery, crystal beading, glittering silk threads, all crafted in India.



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