Mother of pearl shimmers at Armani show in Milan

Giorgio Armani unveiled a new collection inspired by mother of pearl colours and the undulation of waves at Milan Fashion Week on Monday, reprising Versace's modern mermaids outfits.

The spring/summer 2012 designs had a shimmering quality that turned the fashion show into a maritime scene on a silvery night with shoals of fish swimming past as models in sparkling, silvery dresses took to the runway.

Italian fashion king Giorgio Armani met with attendees after the show including champion swimmers Ian Thorpe of Australia and Federica Pellegrini of Italy, as well as award-winning fashion photographer Bruce Weber.

Armani said in a statement that the collection - shown off at Armani's new minimalist headquarters in Milan - reflected "the sheen of mother-of-pearl, the iridescence that transforms colours into watery reflections."

The dresses - many of them strapless and wavy like shells - exuded "an utterly modern elegance that rejoices in gleaming silks and satins in aqueous and mineral colours nuanced between green and azure," Armani said.

The show culminated with a see-through dress that appeared to be covered in minute drops of water applied to a mesh base. Skirt lengths were demure - going down to knee or calf-length, and the trousers had slits down the front.