The Italian Almanac

Giorgio Armani

Italian Fashion - February 23

This is Giorgio Armani's year. Having recently unveiled his new Privé collection of handmade dresses at the Paris Haute Couture, along with a fine jewellery collection and four new fragrances, Armani - the brand - celebrates its 30th birthday while Armani - the man - prepares to celebrate his 71st.

And it was clear from his autumn/winter 2005 collection, shown yesterday as part of the Italian ready-to-wear collections, that he was ready to celebrate. Forsaking his signature beige minimalist aesthetic, Armani reiterated his manifesto to "capture the very summit of the luxury market'', in a glittering collection that continued his current love affair with 1940s surrealism.

In the extra-long - perhaps too long - show, Armani also made it clear that this septuagenarian was not slowing down, nor stepping down from the $2bn empire that he still runs single-handedly.