After the youthful, lilac-soaked runway of Armani Privé’s Spring 2016 Couture show, a return to subdued elegance for Fall 2016 Couture came as a surprise. It seemed like Giorgio Armani was changing tactics to court the vote of bright young things, but his latest work revisits the stately glamour upon which Armani Privé was built. Inside the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, Armani put Mata Hari in sharp suiting, and the results were glamorous and tinged with exoticism.
Where most couture shows end with a wedding gown, Armani went noir with his final look.
In keeping with a return to the brand’s established aesthetic, the show opened with a series of gleaming, houndstooth-printed suits, which featured fitted jackets with slim shoulders that came to a pointed peak – a slight nod to the 80s without the decade’s excess. While coordinated suits were shown first, they soon began to arrive in alternate lengths and fits, which offered both longline jackets and loose dhoti trouser options for day. Embellishment was kept to a minimum, as many looks were finished with a subtle plume of feathers, a smattering of crystal embroidery, or an oversized bow knotted around the chest or waist.
While the silhouette remained slim and figure skimming, a few voluminous looks punctuated the runway in the form of frothy feather toppers or printed silk capes. Although a majority of the Armani Privé Fall 2016 Couture collection is fit for a grand occasion, the designer really ramped up eveningwear midway through the show with the debut of a singularly stunning plunge-front velvet gown cut to figure-hugging proportions. From there, Armani built to his dénouement with a variety of beautiful gowns featuring crystal paillettes, cape accents, sequined houndstooth patterns, and velvet peplum. Where most couture shows end with a wedding gown, Armani went noir with his final look, which featured a turban-wearing model in an inky, sparkling, fully sequined gown topped with layered necklaces, thereby fully cementing the Mata Hari references found throughout the presentation.