Emporio Armani, more a rally in favor of fashion than just a show
Giorgio Armani took over Linate airport for his latest Emporio show, and a loving ode to Milan’s adopted city in a massive event followed by a performance by Robbie Williams on balmy Thursday night.
'Boarding' was the name of the show, a title plastered throughout the airport, and in the city center of Milan. Armani had already taken over all the windows of Rinascente, the city’s top department store. Filling each window with a whole selection of Boarding products underneath various sections of a plane fuselage.
The massive white eagle Emporio Armani logo over the main hangar of Linate airport has been a landmark for a quarter century, an iconic symbol of Milan’s status as Italy’s fashion capital. Though this was almost certainly the first time any of his 2,500 guests had ever gone inside the building.
In the interiors, a black lacquered catwalk and four sunken pits, containing hundreds of fans that had won a competition for invitations. Many of these wore T-shirts from the capsule collection Boarding that first began selling on September 13.
In an elaborate piece of staging, guests had to register for their tickets at the check-in desks where 40 handsome Italian ushers approved their departures.
In a rambling show, Armani rifled through the many stages of Emporio, arguably the most successful diffusion line of any major designer in history.
He concentrated for a long time on his historic non-colors of cement, faded sea blue, worn lichen, and even lightly boiled pasta. Armani remains a master tailor and his languidly cut suits; cool linen herring bone pants; and mini blazers looked great on the guys.
However for evening, he delved deep into the neon pastels that have characterized a lot of recent Emporio clothes. The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky. Using nylon, sequins and feathers to create a sexy selection of cocktail dresses for the ladies.
“Ever since I first put my name up on this building I had a notion of staging a show here. Airports are important symbols, they represent a world without barriers and that’s what I believe in too,” said the tanned designer.
Above all this was a testament to Armani’s love of Milan, where he first came as a medical student back in 1953. A giant screen showed a passenger plane taking off from Linate and then circling over Milan, mixed with the eagle Emporio logo; handsome smiling Italians and beautiful images of the city at night, notably the Duomo illuminated in all its glory. On the soundtrack, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
It almost felt like a political rally with flashing screens, logos, and huge bleachers full of cheering fans. But at the finale, Armani rather modestly took his bow in almost total darkness. One could barely see his shiny gray hair. The applause, however, was deafening.
The Milanese surely love this designer. Which makes sense. No single person has done more to put this city on the map a center of excellence in fashion and design than Giorgio Armani.
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