NEW YORK, January 6, 2011    By Matthew Schneier

Giorgio Armani took a detour to the Sahara for his Spring ’11 collection, turning out a well-received all-navy show with hints of North Africa. For pre-fall, the African sojourn is over, and it’s back to business as usual for the house. The classic Armani signatures—strong tailoring mixed with draping, the mash-up of menswear and womenswear, and sleek glamour—were all out in full force. In a mostly dark palette, Armani offered sinuous, fitted jackets and wide, thick-cuffed trousers, which hit right at the ankle. It made for an uncommon look, and paired with a fedora, a little Annie Hall alla Italiana, but it offered an interesting update on the prevailing seventies-inspired menswear chic. Nothing masculine about evening, though. There was the black velvet dress with a rosy side cowl that referenced Armani’s lunar Spring ’10 Couture collection, and two pearlescent gowns inspired, according to the designer, by the boudoir. The finest of them had a voluminous, gathered-hem skirt in organza and a glittering bodice banded at the bust.

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