Giorgio Armani offers boy-girl fall look in Milan

BY DANIELA PETROFF AP Fashion Writer Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Giorgio Armani had the last word at Milan Fashion Week, and not only where the clothes were concerned.

Speaking to reporters between his two shows on Monday, the closing day of preview shows for the fall-winter 2013-2014 season, the designer lashed out at some colleagues who in his opinion are more interested in spectacles than sales.

"One thing is to put on a play, the other is to create fashion," Armani said.

"It's not about models wearing gold crowns, " Armani said, taking a jab at Sunday's Dolce&Gabbana show with its Byzantine princess motif. "(It's) about what you can find in the store."

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.

Noting that new markets, like China, love the live presentations, he disagreed with those who would do away with fashion shows altogether. Instead Armani suggested that the format be revisited to ensure that the clothes are the focal point.

Armani's latest winter collection on Monday 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 also 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.

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