Highlights of Armani's One Night Only Dubai: Coldplay's Chris Martin to priceless couture

Sharon Stone and Clive Owen were among celebrity guests at the one-off fashion extravaganza held at the foot of Burj Khalifa

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Giorgio Armani’s One Night Only Dubai show ended on a joyful note, as the designer took to the runway trailed by a throng of models who danced and clapped their way through the finale as if they were part of the world’s most picture-perfect street party.

It was a fittingly upbeat end to an event that was, at its heart, celebratory. Held at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, with the Dubai Fountains providing a suitably dramatic backdrop and the skyscrapers of Downtown hovering above as if trying to get a better look, the event coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the Armani Hotel Dubai and was a manifestation of the designer’s close ties with the emirate. Earlier this week, he was presented with a UAE golden visa, in recognition of his contribution to the country, and waxed lyrical about Dubai in an interview with The National.

"Nothing and nowhere can be compared with the wonder of Dubai, conceived and raised with the sole purpose of astonishing the world,” he said.

Armani, 87, had also clearly set out to astonish. Flanked by white, tiered seating, a steel runway was interspersed with metal trees that models had to weave around. The starkness of the backdrop acted as an antithesis to the lightness and vibrancy of the clothes themselves. Armani served up 110 looks, including highlights from his spring/summer 2022 womenswear collection, a selection of menswear, pieces from his latest Armani Prive couture collection and a capsule dubbed Exclusive for Dubai. Ninety models were flown in from Milan for the occasion.

Celebrities at the Armani One Night only show in Dubai:

Opening looks were laid back and louche – loose-fitting trousers and jackets paired with head scarves and open-toed sandals for women, and relaxed suits in Armani’s trademark muted palette for men. Models walked slowly, with Nico Fidenco's cheery Legata ad un Granello di Sabbia playing in the background, inviting us to imagine long summer days on the Italian coast.

Menswear evolved to include ikat-esque prints, pinstripe jackets draped casually across the shoulders and trousers held up by braces, with one strap secured over the shoulder and the other casually falling down by the hip, while women donned maxi dresses in dreamy shades of sky blue, many-stranded beaded necklaces and trousers, tops, jackets and dresses in uplifting pops of hot pink. Soft, floaty fabrics and easy-to-wear cuts in gentle pastel hues dominated.

The second part of the show was designed to bedazzle: sparkling sequins, crystal-infused embroidery and shimmering floral motifs competed with the Burj Khalifa, which twinkled beatifically in the background. Tiered ruffles and exaggerated draping in sugary hues gave many of the pieces an architectural feel, also entirely befitting of the setting.

Giorgio Armani with his models at the One Night Only show in Dubai. Photo: Armani

As he performed at the after-party, Coldplay’s Chris Martin joked that this was probably the best-dressed audience in the world. And he wasn’t wrong.

Armani’s one-off fashion extravaganza attracted a smattering of international celebrities, including actresses Sharon Stone and Lily James, actor Clive Owen and model Taylor Hill, regional influencers, local and international press and Armani clients from around the world, dressed largely in trademark Armani black.

One Night Only is a travelling event that brings “the Armani universe” to key cities around the world, and has previously been held in London, Tokyo, Beijing, Rome, New York and Paris. Coinciding with Expo 2020 Dubai, it was a showcase of Italian excellence to rival anything found in the country’s dedicated pavilion, and it was clearly a moment of personal triumph for Mr Armani.

"The Expo has always been a moment of stimulus for human inventiveness: I saw it first-hand in Milan, in conjunction with the inauguration of the Silos. Now I'm in Dubai: at the Expo again, but with the opportunity to celebrate 10 years of my hotels with a special One Night Only event,” he said ahead of the event.

“I’m happy and proud to be here today: the Middle East is the cradle of a new concept of luxury, synonymous with continuous evolution and experimentation that still draw on the roots and the magic of a rich, deep culture to give life to a new creative energy.”

Updated: October 27, 2021, 9:50 AM