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Armani has said 75 percent of his second line, Emporio Armani, which showed Saturday, has already been sold.

It may sound like the 78-year-old, ever-tanned, white-haired designer who put the made-in-Italy label on the international fashion map in the early 1980s was pontificating. But last night’s Oscar dress list showed Armani head-to-head with Dior, proof the designer knows what he’s talking about.

Along with Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts, Armani dressed child star and best actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis in a sparkling navy blue dress with a big back bow from his Armani Junior line.

Armani’s latest winter collection came almost all in black, with accents of gray, navy and red. The chic-yet-simple collection spoke to a contemporary woman, who in the designer’s own words is “a little man, a little woman, and a lot of both.”

Admiring front-row guests included singer Janet Jackson and a scattering of royalty: Charlene Wittstock, wife of Prince Albert of Monaco, and Tatiana Blatnik, wife of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark.

The collection featured ultra-feminine long skirts in velvet or sequined chiffon, worn with tiny double-breasted or flared jackets. But the look also came with wide pants, complete with decorative suspenders. Evening pants were paired with dazzling sequined tops.

Armani had more pants, including jumpsuits and Bermuda shorts, in his collection than most designers this round, where ladylike skirts and dresses were the preferred look.

Armani’s only concession to eccentric show stoppers were his funky Russian-inspired felt and furry hats, worn with every outfit.

“To each his own crown,” the designer quipped.


The Ferre winter woman is bold and yet feminine.

She endorses the structured look so popular for this round of preview showings, with prominent shoulders and waist cinched in a wide obi belt. A revisitation of the famed Ferre structured shirt, with its prominent collar and wide sleeve, fits perfectly in the new look.

Sophisticated black is her preferred shade, softened by an occasional flirt with cream white and chocolate brown.

Her footwear is determined, almost nasty, with high-heeled booties sporting aggressive ankle straps.

“She rediscovers her femininity, without losing her taste for architectural design,” designers Federico Piaggi and Stefano Citron said backstage after Monday’s show on the last day of Milan’s winter Fashion Week.

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