One Night Only: Inside Giorgio Armani’s Expo 2020 Show in Dubai

Armani’s womenswear is often more obtuse—especially the womenswear he chooses to put on the runway. Here, however, there was a freshness and lightness to the sampled sections plucked from mainline Giorgio Armani, and in this jarringly saccharine context the pieces worked better than they do in Milan. The real revelation, however, was the couture saved for a closing all-female second section of the show. Watching the sparkle of sequin, the shiver of spiral fringe, the glint of embroidered crystal, and the imperious piano forte of a wide hemmed super-skirted dress in shades of blue, Armani’s models came to resemble skyscrapers in themselves; tall, angular, and luminescent, sparkly with aesthetic trickery. Grand and beautiful structures. However, unlike so many of the skyscrapers around us—or indeed those geopolitical empty-gesture pavilions in the Expo—these were structures with a discernible human purpose, related to beauty, to attraction, to confidence, and to comfort.

Back at the Expo, I am sad to report that the Italian Pavilion, although quite impressive from the outside, had no tangibly coherent purpose within. This show, the latest result of almost 50 years of work by one one of Italy’s greatest creators, arguably served as a better advert for Italian excellence around the world. These were clothes you’d love to live in.

Sharon Stone and Roberta Armani

Photo: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani