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“This needs to be seen in a real environment”: Giorgio Armani on His Return to the Runway for Armani Privé FW21

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

Giorgio Armani’s last haute couture collection was a beautiful but melancholy depiction of the empty streets of Milan he experienced during the pandemic. Coming back to life, he did the exact opposite. His first Armani Privé show with an audience in over a year was held in the Italian Embassy in Paris where gowns brushed against your knees as they made their way through the narrow salons. Armani painted liquefied silk organza and layers of chiffon in the pastel colours of the rainbow, proposing an haute couture wardrobe founded in vibrancy, freshness and elation. Anders Christian Madsen spoke to Armani before the show.

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

What motivated this collection?

“With this collection I wanted to convey a feeling of joy and lightness. I wanted this to be a collection about rebirth, about a new sense of blossoming and freedom of spirit.”

Did the idea of returning to the live format – the audience – impact the collection?

“The idea of coming back to live shows did not really impact my work. The collection was created during the past months and until the last minute we didn’t know whether we would be able to stage a proper show. I am happy that we will be presenting it in front of a live audience because I think that all the impalpable and floating shapes need to be seen in a real environment and on a moving body to be fully appreciated.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

Which looks in the show mean the most to you?

“The looks that mean the most to me are those dresses that are so transparent and liquid that almost look like water, or like halos around the body. I think that with our ateliers we were able to capture a sense of levity and luminosity that can be seen throughout the collection.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

Did your recent accident affect your creative outlook in any way?

“It was simply something that happened, and it has not affected my work. But it did teach me to be extra careful when I go out. I mean I’m always very aware but sometimes you just need to pay some extra attention.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

Your last Armani Privé show was very emotional; often melancholy. Do you feel more emotional about your work after the pandemic?

“Honestly, I do not feel more emotional about my work after the pandemic. But I now want my work to show emotions in a clearer way. I think that during this period we have discovered a feeling of something true, something powerful, something enriching, something energising, and I want all this to come true also through my work. These are feelings that accompanied us over the last months – sometimes of grief, sometimes of happiness – and it is always important to follow them.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

How would you describe the emotions that went into this show?

“Regarding the emotional aspects of this show, I don’t think we’re completely out of what happened but the message I want to convey is one of hope, because I truly wish we will soon come out of this very dark tunnel.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

Why did you decide to include pieces from your previous haute couture collection in this show?

“This collection includes pieces from my previous show because I thought they were beautiful dresses and I wanted them to be seen for real by the audience. The other reason is that timelessness is a central idea in all my collections: no clothes are meant to be over in one season.”

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni /

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