"Lights of the day" served as Giorgio Armani's inspiration for the winter 2012-2013 Armani Privé couture collection in Paris Tuesday. Judging from the muted pastels - pink, silver, mauve, light blue - shading to black or midnight blue, he was thinking about the poetic light of twilight hours and evening, not the brash, bright lights of day. Couture is high fashion's top tier - its allure and elegance must exceed even luxury ready-to-wear. The first model, setting the tone for the collection, wore voluminous, black velvet trousers, a textured silk blouse with gradations of grey descending - sunset style - from silver to smoke, a light lavender collarless, buttonless jacket, topped with a black oval pill hat. Horizon-like shading continued on a number of tops, as did the flowing trousers - some pleated, some not - rounded shoulders and collarless, high necklines.
The rounded, elliptical shoulders interspersed with sharp, angular padded shoulders. As the collection proceeded deeper into evening, out came floor length black velvet skirts lined with striking pastel satin - a bolt of contrast that drew attention to slits reaching above the knee.
The pastel horizon topped many of the evening ensembles in sumptuous satins, georgette and velvet.
Crystal twinkled on paved jackets and on veils draped over models' faces. Heavily beaded long dresses and skirts continued the collection's pastel black medley.
On and on the show went - 64 outfits in all - with a good number of them calculated to forgive less than perfect bodies. There were plenty of red carpet candidates in the mix, like a black sequined floor length sleeveless gown with a bustier that shot up nearly to the collarbone in a dramatic v-shape -or a black velvet gown with a plunging neckline, black crystal pave' straps and wing-like flaps that emerge from the cleavage.
One wonders, though, if even a movie star would dare to don a crystal-studded head veils that accompanied much of the evening wear. Perhaps that allure is truly privé - an exclusive look to be embraced by insiders, since head veils have appeared on a number of couture runways this season.