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Forget quiet luxury, Giorgio Armani declares that high glamour is back

Cate Blanchett and Giorgio Armani
Cate Blanchett and 89-year-old Giorgio Armani at his show on Feb 25 in Milan - Getty
Cate Blanchett and 89-year-old Giorgio Armani at his show on Feb 25 in Milan
Cate Blanchett and Giorgio Armani at his show on Feb 25 in Milan - Getty

As red-carpet season heated up to fever pitch, Cate Blanchett was front row at the Armani show. She was probably shopping for an Oscars gown. If she was after voluminous froufrou, she won’t have been disappointed. Giorgio Armani delivered nighttime glamour and, indeed, yards of black tulle spangled with sequins, a sweetheart strapless bodice and jewelled belt.

Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Slater: 'Armani delivered nighttime glamour' - Shutterstock

But the 89-year-old designer doesn’t subject his fans to the pain and impracticality of trains, corseted waists and high heels. These are clothes you can get out of a limo in without needing an army of assistants. Every shoe on the catwalk, from embroidered velvet slippers and ankle boots to clear plastic evening pumps, was flat and walkable.

Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
A model walks the Giorgio Armani runway at Milan Fashion Week - Getty
armani
The collection featured sumptuous velvets and silks - Getty
Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Black tulle was spangled with sequins - Reuters

The set, with its opaque paper background, and some of the motifs, such as embroidered dragonflies on a navy velvet jacket, were Japanese in their simplicity. This house prides itself on its taste. Elsewhere, Armani kept in step with his fellow designers with huge, and obviously fake, grey fur yeti coats and sumptuous velvets and silks. The message here is that the age of quiet luxury, of wearing something that only insiders know is expensive, is over.

Slater: 'Embroidered dragonflies on a navy velvet jacket were Japanese in their simplicity'
Slater: 'Embroidered dragonflies on a navy velvet jacket were Japanese in their simplicity' - Getty
Big, obviously fake fur coats signal an end to quiet luxury
Big, obviously fake fur coats signal an end to quiet luxury - Getty

That was the takeaway from Bottega Veneta, too, where Julianne Moore, Kate Moss and the rapper A$AP Rocky added sparkle to the front row. Matthieu Blazy, its creative director, has spent the past two years championing stealth wealth. He once sent Moss down the runway in a lumberjack shirt and jeans – only the initiated would realise they were of leather engineered to look like cloth.

Julianne Moore Asap Rocky Salma Hayek Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Faces of the front row: Julianne Moore with rapper A$AP Rocky and Salma Hayek at Bottega Veneta in Milan - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 kate moss
Kate Moss was in attendance, having previously walked the runway for Bottega Veneta - Getty

This season, as he clarified backstage, if it looked like cotton, it was. Well – a lot of it seemed, and was, leather. There was even a swinging skirt suit with a funnel neck and cape in softest baby-blue suede. It was deeply impractical, and that was the point.

Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
This skirt suit was crafted with the 'softest baby-blue suede' - Getty

Bottega Veneta is renowned for its artisans’ skill with accessories and here were its trademark intrecciato woven-leather bags in yellow, cream and orange. Knee- or even thigh-high leather boots have been on almost every Milanese catwalk, and Bottega’s sleek version with its dramatic heel, in grey or sky blue, was one of the best.

Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
One of Bottega Veneta's trademark intrecciato woven-leather bags - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Blazy's explosive take on a fake-fur coat - Getty

Blazy’s take on the fake-fur coat was an exploding puffball of white, yellow and black leather strips. And there was nothing at all subtle about a stand-out evening dress in fiery red with a fringed skirt that moved like a giant sea anemone.

Wherever you looked on the Italian catwalk, high glamour was back with a vengeance.

More from the shows...

Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Giorgio Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Shutterstock
Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Giorgio Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Reuters
Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Giorgio Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Giorgio Armani Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Slater: 'Blazy’s take on the fake-fur coat was an exploding puffball of white, yellow and black leather strips' - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
'There was nothing at all subtle about a stand-out evening dress in fiery red with a fringed skirt that moved like a giant sea anemone,' writes Slater - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25
Bottega Veneta Autumn/Winter 2024-25 - Getty