The bold and the beautiful
Giorgio Armani retrospective charts three decades of innovation, writes Pavan Shamdasani
Fashion weeks earlier this year gave us a preview of what the stars are going to be wearing. But an Italian name synonymous with red carpet style is hosting its own event here: Giorgio Armani.
Armani's "Eccentrico" Exhibition will take place from Thursday to Sunday at SKY100, at the ICC. The retrospective will showcase an assortment of the famed Italian designer's pieces from 1985 to the present day, including highlights from both the Giorgio Armani and Giorgio Armani Privé lines.
Armani is now often regarded as a safe figure in the fashion industry - a master of the classic, perhaps even a purist. But the exhibition offers a look at the designer's more daring side.
Among the highlights are a Gloria Vanderbilt-inspired silk taffeta jacket from the spring-summer 1989 collection, a gypsy dress covered in sequins from autumn-winter 2008 and the famed stitched-metallic outfit designed for Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour in 2009.
The exhibition's name says as much about the event as it does his wilder, more extravagant designs. Arranged thematically, clothes and accessories will be displayed in a whimsical setting meant to evoke a dreamlike vibe.
More than 50 gowns from Armani's archives will be on display, ranging from couture and prêt-à-porter pieces to dresses designed exclusively for celebrities. Each has been chosen to demonstrate the designer's bold aesthetic, but viewed together they chart the evolution of high fashion over the course of his career.
The exhibition will also features more than 200 outstanding accessories from across the decades, including jewellery, shoes, bags and hats. The most obvious focus is Armani's deep interest in nature, with brooches, necklaces and clasps adorned with creatures of the night, including beetles, dragonflies, panthers, scarabs, snakes and spiders.
Accessories have allowed Armani to be more experimental over the years: a hat created out of a weave of fans shows his interest in Asian motifs, while other embellished pieces reveal a fascination with the surreal.
Eccentrico was originally unveiled as a one-night display to complement the designer's spring-summer 2013 presentation at his Milan headquarters last September.
It later became a touring show, first stopping in Tokyo. Hong Kong is its third stop. The exhibition starts the day after Armani opens a Harbour City store.