GIORGIO ARMANI PRIVÉ
Mr. Armani called his Autumn/ Winter ’13 couture collection ‘Nude’, a study of light and transparency that was achieved using materials such as tulle, organza, and crinoline. Sculpted, beaded, and encrusted with crystals, the dresses made for a breathtaking collection.
Located in Armani’s headquarters on Via Borgonuovo in Milan, is the atelier where the Privé collection comes to life. The team of seamstresses is split into smaller teams, each led by a première. There are two separate classes of couture seamstresses: the ‘light wear’ seamstresses, who specialise in delicate, gossamer fabrics including tulle, chiffon, and organza; and the ‘heavy wear’ seamstresses who specialise in overwear.
Once the theme is defined, a mood board is created to reflect the designer’s inspirations. The materials, embroidery, accessories, and finishing touches are chosen and the toiles created to give a clear idea of the outfit’s final appearance – its shape, length, volume, and trims. Mr. Armani makes the first amendments in terms of colour, fabric, and texture based on these.
The fine embroidery work seen in the couture collection is made entirely by hand in the most famous Italian and French ateliers. Made specifically to the pattern given, this embroidery work can include many different inserts such as Swarovski crystals, sequins, and stones. In the event the stones need to be of a very precise colour, they are individually handpainted before they are applied.
For heavier outfits, a tulle bodice with reeds is created and this is worn by the models. The outfit is checked repeatedly to ensure that the way in which the fabric falls, the drapes, the width, volume, trims, and finishings adhere to the sketches and measurements of the outfit. Mr. Armani follows the entire process and makes changes up till a day before the show. A couture outfit can take up to an astounding 3,000 hours to make, for pieces that require fine lace and intricate embroidery.