By Daniela Petroff  www.deseretnews.com

MILAN — “La femme bleu,” “the blue lady,” “la donna blu.” Anyway you translate it, starting with Armani’s French title, blue is the operative word for his latest collection, which wrapped up the week of womenswear preview showings for the Spring-Summer 2011.

A model shows a creation part of the Giorgio Armani Spring-Summer 2011 fashion collection, during the fashion week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010.
A model shows a creation part of the Giorgio Armani Spring-Summer 2011 fashion collection, during the fashion week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010.

After six days of glaring color — Armani himself featured watermelon red in his Emporio collection shown earlier in the week — it was a real surprise to see a show where the brightest shade was midnight blue.

Front row guests George Clooney and his companion, Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, had apparently been clued in before the show: Clooney wore a blue suit with an open-necked black shirt, while Canalis was all in black. Black mixed with blue was the only other color in the collection.

In his fashion notes, Armani said he drew inspiration for the collection from the Tuareg, the blue nomads of the desert, so called for the dark face covers worn by the men.

The designer probably has desert on his mind since the opening of his luxury hotel in Dubai earlier this year. A dunned version was projected at the end of the runway.

There were no veils on the runway, but throughout the show the models wore a blue knotted turban stolen directly from one of the Tuareg menfolk. Long shawls, like a nomad’s cape, were also prominent.

The basic silhouette is fitted, with tunic tops over long skirts and trousers. At times the look is layered with small vests over jackets over a blouse, much like desert attire.

The Armani magic comes in transposing these men’ s styles in ultra-feminine outfits best seen in his evening wear.

Gorgeous strapless gowns decorated with big blue bows, shine in the midnight sky, lit up by myriad glittering crystals and sequins. Footwear for these dramatic dresses is a totally flat cloth slipper.

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