An extravaganza by Giorgio Armani is like no other, so when the Italian design legend vowed to wow Beijing with his ‘One Night Only’ fashion show gala, he did just that.
It was never going to be a low-key affair. The venue, once a gigantic gas tank in the city’s former industrial zone, had been transformed over the course of two weeks, Armani-style, into a slick cylindrical catwalk, befitting the up-and-coming art district which has sprung up in that area.
With 1000 people invited to attend the show, and a very Armani front row it was too, including Tina Turner, Michelle Yeoh, Fan Bing Bing, Daniel Wu and Shu Qui, guests were treated to the full Giorgio Armani experience with no less than 221 looks on parade, from his lines Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani and Armani Privé, his couture collection.
After the finale couture dress had posed regally centre stage—a column of liquid-black sequins embellished with a writhing dragon picked out in jade and emerald jewels that glinted in the spotlight—the equally epic Mary J Blige took to the stage (in a Giorgio Armani white suit, naturally) and proceeded to belt out ‘No More Drama’, as if the songstress’s life depended on it. She then reeled off six more songs, including ‘Family Affair’ and a cover version of U2’s ‘One’, much to the delight of her front row and Mr Armani himself, who could be seen bopping in the wings.
As to why Mr Armani wanted to put on this blockbuster show in Beijing, he said: ‘It was a way of celebrating my presence in this culturally rich and fascinating country, a country I got to know well, over ten years ago, long before its economic boom transformed it into the dynamic market it is today.’
‘China is today one of our most important markets and one of the most receptive markets to my message. I felt it was my duty to bring my vision directly to the public by organizing a unique event in a high impact location,’ he added.
Giorgio Armani opened his first boutique in Beijing in 1998; he now boasts 289 stores across the country.
And, judging by this event, his intentions are clearly to continue to expand.