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Armani Hangs Loose for Fall

A Giorgio Armani show often seems more like the meeting of a fan club. Wednesday night’s production was no exception as Armani rooters, including Ali MacGraw, settled on champagne satin pillows to admire his new fall styles.

As Joan Kaner, fashion consultant for I. Magnin/Bullocks Wilshire, said: “There was more variety and color than ever; a very cerebral collection. I was pleased and surprised to see so many short (lengths) here. Even Armani’s longer lengths were slit to show leg.”

Armani never startles, but leads one subtly into his evolving fashion thoughts. For fall, the newness is in longer, looser jackets. Collarless and banded with tubular piping, many unlined, they have the ease of comfortable sweaters. This group was in his favorite menswear fabrics, such as brown-and-beige Prince of Wales plaid, and he wrapped everything up in matching, fringe-edged blanket shawls.

Other new tops include cropped, padded jackets, a chic interpretation of Chinese workers’ styles. Fitted long jackets, their lapels no more than a sliver, button to the side.

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All these were shown with Armani’s signature skirt of the season: an above-the-knee, side-wrapped sarong. Legs were further emphasized with pale tights and short, suede boots or flats.

As always, Armani offered beautifully cut pants. Some were caught, paratrooper style, at the ankle or had deep, double cuffs.

Topped With Soft Shirts

Shown with all these sporty separates were chiffon or georgette shirts with button-down collars, shells or surplice wrapped blouses. They were usually in muted tones of pewter, smoke, ivory or celadon.

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Color surfaced in an orange suit, in collarless, floor-length coats, and in short, plush wool jackets of plum, loden, rose.

Except for those big, daytime shawls, there were no accessories, no jewelry. Makeup was pale and hair boyishly sleeked back or long and worn in a high, rolled pompadour.

For evening, georgette or chiffon slip dresses in ivory, celadon or apricot slithered over the models’ bodies, more in the Armani mood than some of the extravagant ball gowns with big low bubble skirts and beaded tops. A sensational evening alternative: the oversized paisley printed satin blazers above white shirts and brown velvet trousers.

The Callaghan collection is as overstated as Armani’s is understated. Romeo Gigli, who used to design the line, is now a consultant. The new season’s look is richly brocaded: Mandarin coats are in gleaming cranberry satin. Cord-tied bathrobe coats in lichen wool are looped and draped with at least 20 strands of garnet beads.

The shows are over in Milan, and the traveling fashion troop now moves on to London.


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