In 2008 Giorgio Armani sponsored the Met’s annual Costume Institute gala and the related exhibit, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.” It was an odd pairing. At the press preview, Mr. Armani, who built his career on understated elegance, marveled at the over-the-top concoctions of designers like Thierry Mugler, Gareth Pugh, and Alexander McQueen and acknowledged the irony of his own role. “The curators must have worked very hard to find something in my past that belongs in this exhibit,” he said. It was clear, however, that for all his dedication to “a fashion that is worn,” he was enjoying the exuberant creativity behind all those impractically superheroic clothes.
Left: Thierry Mugler, fall/winter 1995-1996, Photograph courtesy of Chris Moore. Right: Thierry Mugler, fall/winter 1997-1998 Photograph © copyright Patrice Stable. Both courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. Lady Gaga photo from Giorgio Armani press materials.
And now we have Lady Gaga wearing Armani haute couture to the Grammys. Strange, but perhaps not as strange as it immediately appears. Aside from recycled press releases, there hasn’t been much commentary on how music’s most flamboyant performer teamed up with a designer known for his restraint. But I can’t help thinking that Armani wanted his own superhero moment.
Left: Gareth Pugh, spring/summer 2007 Photograph courtesy of firstVIEW. Right: Alexander McQueen, fall/winter 2007-2008 Photograph courtesy of Chris Moore. Both courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. Lady Gaga photo from Giorgio Armani press materials.
See a slideshow of Armani Privé's Spring 2010 collection, inspired by the moon, here.