Giorgio Armani wrote the following in the notes for his Pre-Fall 2020/2021 show, which was revealed in Milan last night: “The assertive image of the Armani woman dressed in a power suit is now transformed."

If anything, the clothes demonstrated that our collective public definition of what constitutes a power suit is what has shifted. Rather than one's traditional nipped-in tailoring, jackets were slightly cropped and pleasantly boxy, rendered in playful velvets and oversized ginghams. Twist braids at the hem and cuffs gave blazers a welcome heft.

Past suiting, though, the overall story was very “flapper goes on a round-the-world cruise.”

Photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani.

There were Chinese-inspired collars and frog fasteners, louche 1930s-era puff sleeves, boater hats and stripes pulled straight from Venetian gondoliers. Elasticized cuffs were left open and slack, and Armaniʼs usually restrained color palette of black, silver and navy was punched up with a few lipstick red pieces—a crocodile embossed leather coat had a particularly commanding presence.

Giorgio Armani's structural new "La Prima" bag was well deployed, slung over shoulders or held long and loose at the handle. Otherwise, there were pillowy clutches and cross-bodies just big enough for the latest iPhone (or RAZR).

The evening looks were both festive and relaxed: Velvet pajama suits in midnight blue and crimson had a lounge-ready appeal, and mini cocktail dresses thrown over sheer tights evoked a bit of Gossip Girl Season 1 realness, with early 2000s bubble hems, layers of necklaces and thick statement belts.

Photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani.

Shimmering, sumptuous beaded gowns—a house specialty—were fresh and modern. Sexy not because they were hyper-feminized, but rather because they were understated and body-skimming. A long sleeve goddess dress was ethereal in its transparency, another, looped around the waist with weighty, beaded tassels, received an unexpected update with a caped back.

The handful of menswear looks in the mix were classic and comfortable. Tuxedos were rendered in gleaming velvet; daytime suits in nubby wool. The tailoring was soft and relaxed, and a few sweeping overcoats had a sort of vintage military uniform vibe, like a grand admiral on a turn of the century ship. Wherever itʼs sailing, weʼre on board.