At the Armani Privé fashion show, Giorgio Armani unveiled his latest collection, featuring 77 looks all inspired by the theme of harlequins. The runway was adorned with a diagonal checkerboard pattern, giving the audience a sneak peek of the show’s aesthetic. It is uncommon for a designer to construct an entire collection around a single pattern, but Armani took this bold move and incorporated elongated squares on the majority of his 77 pieces.
This season, Armani exhibited a fearless attitude with his diamond motifs, resulting in a diverse collection that had its hits and misses. The show began with neat little jackets featuring the lozenge shapes in relief, and then progressed to a variety of cocktail looks anchored by glossy black pants, black knickers, or long, narrow black skirts. Additionally, there were sequined t-shirts and variations on the cardigan, all adorned with harlequin prints and the gentle, unfussy tailoring that Armani is known for.
Throughout the show, evening sheaths were interspersed, most of which shone from top to toe with sequins or dense beaded embroideries. The craftsmanship was impressive, with the diamond patterns sometimes etched in crystal dégradés, or veiled with chiffon overlays. The designer occasionally took a break from harlequins to present a stunning, body-skimming length of peony pink sequins or a sleek black number.
Armani did not reveal which painting of a harlequin inspired this collection, but the mischievous, clown-like characters can be traced back to the Commedia dell’arte, an Italian theater movement of the 1500s. Harlequin patterns were popular in the 1960s, sparked in part by a Picasso retrospective in New York, and have been seen more recently on the runways of Cynthia Rowley, Geoffrey Beene and Oscar de la Renta.