In a week when the late Elsa Schiaparelli insinuated herself into haute couture’s consciousness once more with a collection by the newest keeper of her flame, it seemed incongruous that Giorgio Armani would so deliberately evoke her memory with a show called Shocking, and an invitation, a set, and a first look radiant with her signature pink. So incongruous, in fact, that one went looking for some other rationale. And found it in another era when shocking pink was also a signature: punk!
The models were rendered uniform by hair and makeup, just like at Chanel this morning. If the uniformity was intended to throw the focus onto the clothes, it also evoked a vision of Siouxsie Sioux in the first flush of her punk goddesshood, with the definite brow and the spiky barnet. As precise and shiny as the clothes were, they had a rawness with their tattered threads and shagginess. Armani explored an infinity of textures with his feathers, knots, and fringing. There were dresses that looked collaged from scraps of fabric. You’d never say that couture was DIY but, in the spirit of punk, there was something of that idea here.
The color scheme, on the other hand, had the fin de siècle gloss of a butterfly’s wing, with the sheen of sequins stained deep blues and purples, the sparkle of Swarovski crystals, and the shimmer of Lurex, anchored by black velvet trousers. Armani made little pretense toward daywear, even if the shoes were flat throughout. This was definitely a collection for the dark and decadent night.