Postcards from Beijing

Hollywood's favorite fashion icon lands in China's capital for a runway extravaganza. MC's Ying Chu goes along for the ride.

models
Niu Daqing
Hollywood's favorite fashion icon lands in China's capital for a runway extravaganza. MC's Ying Chu goes along for the ride.
1 of 16
models
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty

Having conquered Hollywood fashion in film (American Gigolo) and on the red carpet (from bedazzled Lady Gaga to minimal Cate Blanchett), Giorgio Armani is going East. "I've always loved China — its sophistication, its decoration," proclaims the designer, whose first mainland shop opened in Beijing in 1998.

2 of 16
invitations
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
Invitations to the show.
3 of 16
model
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty

On his latest trip, he turned an old water tanker in Beijing's 798 Art District into a stage for "One Night Only," a monumental show joining his Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, and Armani Privé (couture) collections under one roof. His audience of 1,000 included longtime admirer Tina Turner and Armani-clad Asian stars like Fan Bingbing.

4 of 16
theater
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
The show's theatrical entrance.
5 of 16
models
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty

What could top such an epic event? His investment in the future: Armani has spearheaded a fashion program at the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University, forging a cultural exchange between East and West. Already, two design hopefuls have been awarded internships in Milan next summer. "Personally, I hope to find someone who can give me a new perspective. That's how we all learn," says Armani.

6 of 16
models
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
Backstage brights.
7 of 16
clutch
Courtesy of Designer
Armani Dynasty
Clutch $2,580, Giorgio Armani; armani.com for stores.
8 of 16
armani
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
Some final preshow preening.
9 of 16
sketch
Courtesy of Designer
Armani Dynasty

"I never sacrifice individuality for trend. I don't ignore trends, but my point is to design clothes for people to buy in shops, not just for shows and photo shoots. Eighty percent of designer collections aren't even produced." — Giorgio Armani

10 of 16
great wall
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
The Great Wall aglow at night.
11 of 16
model
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty

"Chinese customers want a little more flash than Europeans. But women's style is constantly becoming more universal. And for these pieces, I went more subtle with structure." — Armani

12 of 16
beijing
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
The city's vibrant markets.
13 of 16
shoe
Courtesy of Designer
Armani Dynasty
Shoes $975, Emporio Armani; armani.com for stores.
14 of 16
last emperor
Courtesy of Company
Armani Dynasty

"When I started my career in the '70s, it wasn't easy to travel to China. I learned about it through books and films like Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor." — Armani

15 of 16
armani
Niu Daqing
Armani Dynasty
Armani with actress Shu Qi.
16 of 16
bracelets
Courtesy of Designer
Armani Dynasty
Purple & red bracelets $295 each, multicolor bracelet $375, Emporio Armani; armani.com for stores.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Fashion