A rather amazing black one-sleeved T-shirt was waltzed down the runway Sunday at Donatella Versace's Versus presentation. It was amazing only partly because the model had that perfect tomboyish, rakish figure that wears a T-shirt particularly well, removing it from the realm of the sexual. (Soaking wet and clinging desperately to her figure, the shirt would offer only the most modest titillation.)
Of course, many will suggest that the collection is indistinguishable from last season's Armani or the seasons before that. That criticism misses the point: It is Armani's great skill that one season does not invalidate what has come before. And there are details that give spring 2001 its own distinction. There are his bullet belts that slouch around the hips, for instance. And the argyle-patterned sweaters and skirts that sway with each swing of the hips.
Indeed, this collection, with its mix of menswear on the runway, has a lively spirit that reflects the whirl of activity within the Armani empire. There's the retrospective that opens this month at the Guggenheim in New York. There's an increased focus on Armani accessories. (He showed wide straw hats on his Emporio runway. Hats! The world's few remaining milliners most certainly gave a little whimper of hope.) He's celebrating the opening of his mega store in Milan that will house his new home furnishings line. And there's a new boutique here for his flagship collection.
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