Giorgio Armani: Pantelleria polish, spellbinding chic
In a Milan menswear season that re-established the supremacy of fine tailoring in today’s wardrobe, it was instructive that the final morning would feature Giorgio Armani’s latest collection, with a spellbinding display by the emperor of Italian fashion.
With streetwear and club gear banished to minor league catwalks all weekend, one felt in the presence of greatness at this show by Armani so elegant was the mood, so refined the clothes.
Pantelleria polish and nautical nonchalance that earned Armani a prolonged standing ovation, led by his front row of actors including Mark Strong and Regé Jean Page.
Each June, Milanese designers compete to create the largest tote. This season Giorgio scooped that award too – with a humungous tote in a rope weave and leather bottom, so large it could handle a family of five for the weekend.
That and other basket weaves also appeared in some great printed silk and cotton jackets, double breasted, single, finished Nehru style or completed with soft Pierre Cardin lapel-free collars.
The silhouette was soft and gentle, and like in his Emporio collection the musculature was always hid beneath. Pants were loose, finished at the ankle and cut with triple reverse pleats.
For Mediterranean island summer evenings Giorgio went into overdrive with a putty gray silk three-piece suit worn without any shirt, a splendid cotton basket-weave three-piece and an awesome navy blue silk pajama suit. Many looks accessorised with silk scarves bearing the GA logo, in gentle branding.
Armani has been busy this year with cotton. In January, he launched a cotton regenerative project in Puglia, using an environmentally friendly agroforestry system. Where he linked up with the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Fashion Task Force and the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, two bodies founded by King Charles III. The king’s point man in these projects and an Armani board member, Federico Marchetti, sat front row.
But while his carbon footprint grows smaller, his influence keeps expanding. For this felt like a bell-weather collection predicting where menswear is heading.
At times it got a little grand, with a series of stilted white cotton fantasy sea captain looks. One would really need a very large superyacht like Giorgio’s 49-meter super Mariu, to make them work. To charter the yacht in high-season costs €245,000 a week, by the way.
But overall, this collection was magnificent men’s mode.
Giorgio’s invitation this season was a leather-bound notebook with matching black pencil attached. His backdrop was a seven-meter pencil and his own swirling signature. At the finale, he took an extended bow with a score of models, before leaning against the pencil, and gently hugging it. The cheers were intense.
Hard to believe but true, in the midst of the renaissance of tailoring and fine taste in menswear, the 89-year-old Armani is having another moment.
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