There is always a mini essay waiting on your seat at a Giorgio Armani show, an explanation of the whats and whys of the latest collection. But today there was nothing. Armani wanted his guests to come to their own conclusions. In 2015, the 40th anniversary of his business, we can probably expect to see more of this, more of the designer pleasing himself. There were a few clues in the wind—brushstrokes, the work of Marc Chagall—and the strongest part of the show was indeed a passage of evening pieces, swirling with “brushstrokes” of embroidery like a Chagall painting. They were beautiful. In fact, when Armani stuck to pants, the evening looks were the best in show, a myriad of sparkling jacket options.

And there’s your conclusion. With four decades of design in mind, Armani was making a strong, simple statement that was completely in character: jackets and pants. After the show, he said simplicity with strength was often the toughest thing to pull off. But Armani knows this road better than anyone. If he indulged himself with some oddities—the waist-clinching cummerbunds, the free-floating collars, the pants that sprung a sarong wrap—he also played to his strengths with dozens of the fluid, gently curving, slightly cropped jackets that are signature pieces for him. And the rest: the double-breasted; the swingy A-line; the elongated, vaguely North African ones, all of them showing Armani’s mastery of muted, alluring blues, purples, and grays. The strength also came from new textures for him, like the big square paillettes of leather or suede that made up a couple of jackets, or the bouclé, the fringing, and fur.

Armani starts work on his next collection tomorrow. Asked if he felt he had anything left to prove, he replied, “Do you think I have?” The question was the answer.

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