Italian designer Giorgio Armani Image Credit: REUTERS

Giorgio Armani had the last word at Milan Fashion Week, which wrapped up six days of womenswear previews for next spring and summer on Monday, launching a book that looks back on his life.

Armani, one of the founders of the Milan ready-to-wear scene, celebrates 40 years of his fashion house this year, and he said he wrote the book because “inside of me there are memories and sensations that I needed to let out.” But the 81-year-old designer said the book was less than an autobiography, which he still intends to write, describing it instead as text accompanying photographs.

“An autobiography involves people that are close to you and you don’t always feel authorised to expose them,” he said.

Armani’s long-time friend Sophia Loren sat in the front row both for his runway show and the book presentation. The 81-year-old actress said she planned to take the book on vacation to read. Asked if she expected to find surprises, she replied: “It’s possible. You never know.”

Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, who introduced the book, credited Armani with being a revolutionary in the fashion world and praised him for never falling prey to some of fashion’s more vulgar tendencies.

“I think it is probably very hard for a generation much younger than me, who was brought up on stretch fabric and bomber jackets to believe that a comfortable jacket was actually a revolution,” Menkes said.

She said the principle behind Armani’s creations “was to make women and men to look good but look free, to feel free, to be energetic.”

The hefty volume is being published this week by Italian publishing house Rizzoli in both English and Italian.

Armani took a fresh direction for his next collection, designing gauzy pants that lightly reveal the body and jackets that wrap the figure.

The colours were also a departure for Armani, with a calm red setting off accompanying shades of blue, white and silver.

“The focus is on the body, revealed by a play on elegant veils,” the designer notes said.

The technical organza created see-through but structured trousers, shorts and skirts for day and evening that formed the centrepiece of the collection, anchoring elegant looks with open swing jackets with liberating three-quarter sleeves and organza tops. Ribbed organza trousers were sometimes worn under skirts and dresses for a textured effect, while what appears to be a silken mini-dress is actually a jumpsuit that reveals the legs. A wavy big-brimmed hat made a statement.

Armani’s nighttime collection received multiple rounds of applause form the fashion crowd, primarily for the jackets elaborately embroidered with beads and crystals paired with Bermuda shorts. To end the show, three models swirled down the runway in black evening dresses to show off a cloud of red organza peeking from the hemline.

“I have to say that this collection here is very fun, very beautiful, different than his usual things. The colours are fantastic,” Loren said.