Armani designs to premiere at Oscars

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A glittering finale of crystal-encrusted dresses that closed Giorgio Armani's show in Milan yesterday will be loaned to actresses next weekend for every designers' favourite photo opportunity: the Oscars.

Armani described his new autumn-winter collection as having "a dash of eccentricity". His eveningwear had crowd-pleasing elegance, but he took more risks with his daywear. Fluid trousers were flared, cropped short and paired with flat, zippered boots.

Armani, who made his name in the 1980s with his softly structured jackets, was in a mood to embellish rather than downplay. His new long-line jackets were nipped at the waist and fluted into bell shapes.

Bold ruching and layers of tulle emphasised this sculpted and sometimes over-complicated look. The beaded and embroidered strapless powder pink dresses had, by contrast, a more conventional silhouette. Eye-popping crystals and beading made an impact, as they will next Sundayon the red carpets at the Oscars.

As a glamorous photo opportunity televised for an audience of millions, the Hollywood ceremony is of crucial importance to Italian fashion designers. But holding it a month earlier this year, coinciding with the end of Milan fashion week, caused logistical problems for some designers.

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