Under the Italian moonlight, the midnight-coloured night sky was unceremoniously dimmer on Sunday evening. Rather than being speckled by twinkling lights, the stars decided to descend on Venice to light up the Lido with their presence. For one night only, that is.
It was here, within the eightieth annual Venice Film Festival, that luminaries and supernovas alike gathered at the behest of Giorgio Armani. Mr. Armani, who has become synonymous with the prestigious cultural event thanks to his inextricable ties with film, returned to the Lido for the most recent iteration of his eponymous Maison’s ‘One Night Only’ event series.
Indeed, “One Night Only Venezia” proved to be the acme of glamour and bravado. An august achievement considering the setting of Venice in September is synonymous with sophistication in every form.
Toasting to the Armani muses and actresses the King of Elegance has dressed over the years, the 89-year-old capped off his exclusive event with a Giorgio Armani Privé fashion show. Eschewing the traditional setting of Paris for a Haute Couture collection presentation, the renegade designer instead looked to the historical Arsenale complex for the artistic milieu.
Backdropped by the ancient complex of shipyards and workshops located in the eastern part of the city, a suite of extravagant gowns and signature tuxedos paraded around the palladium-style former armoire. Typically in Venice, theatrics are usually presented in 35-millimetre aspect ratios, however, on Armani Privé’s runways, the sartorial glory of Armani’s dexterous craftsman was presented in high definition and crystal clear colour.
Honouring both his own and Venice’s rich history, the Maison juxtaposed the industry setting of Tese delle Nappe with a collection that rivalled the pomp of Commedia dell’Arte. The Arlecchino, or Harlequin, archetype was examined through a tessellating diamond motif.
Trimmed with captivating sequins or beaded appliqué, the house signature threaded Venice’s cultural roots with Mr. Armani’s own link to performance.
Of course, with Mr. Armani himself the subject of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 documentary Made In Milan, which too premiered at the film festival, the road to style on the Lido is one Armani is well versed in. Yet, it was Armani’s sparkling front row that emphasised the designer’s perennial affinity with Hollywood glamour.
Casting his leading ladies in the role of ‘guest’, Armani gathered a crowd only rivalled by the annual Academy Awards. Italian actress Sophia Loren, who herself is a bedrock of the film festival, watched on in a champagne three-piece suit completed with an exaggerated rosette boutonniere.
Sydney Sweeney, one of Armani’s most recent muses, found a kindred spirit in her floral gown; a piece reminiscent of the luxuriate’s most recent Haute Couture collection inspired by the perpetual beauty of roses. Jessica Chastain, Sadie Sink, Barbara Palvin Sprouse and Maude Apatow were also amongst the exclusive guest list invited to sit front row.
Yet, that was only the amuse bouche of the evening, with guests continuing their ‘one night only’ with a 700-person lavish party soundtracked by Róisín Murphy and Mark Ronson.
With Armani Beauty the film festival’s main beauty sponsor, a role they’ve played for six consecutive years now, guests’ makeup looks were undoubtedly touched up during the evening with complementary Lip Maestro satin lipstick applications. As the scent of Sì crescendoed well into the late hours, the night ended in typical Venetian fashion.
With Mr. Armani the recipient of a one-of-one Marano glass winged lion statute—-the symbol of the island city and the greatest honour bestowed on the winner of the Venice Film Festival—Armani cemented his status as an auteur in his own right.
This article originally appeared on Grazia International