Giorgio Armani's newest deconstruction
Giorgio Armani returned to his historic Palazzo Orsini headquarters in central Milan for his signature collection’s latest menswear runway show, and the event turned into quite a triumph.
Armani often takes a brief, modest bow after a catwalk show. But this Monday night – in the last show of the four-day Milano Moda Uomo - he toured the courtyard of the 17th-century mansion like a Renaissance duke being hailed by his subjects for a successful military campaign.
A front row of handsome movie stars then promptly queued respectfully to compliment Armani. Samuel L Jackson in a crinkly pale grey suit; 'Game of Thrones' heartthrob, Richard Madden, in a dark minimalist ensemble; and Italian Adonis, Marco Mengoni, in a midnight blue tuxe -- all paid their respects.
Rightly so, as this was a notable collection with Armani doing what he does best – unfussy, sophisticated clothes that manage to be classy, yet supremely casual. His cast marched briskly around the palazzo, beneath the architraves, tympana and lunettes of the towering neo-classical building, acquired by Armani back in 1996.
Creatively, the designer was in a playful mood, sending out outstandingly well draped pants, clasped at the ankle and made in dense patchwork prints – often worn with slim, four-button shirt jackets; shoulder padding was practically non-existent in this show.
The key element for spring 2020 was the waistcoat, paired with silk double-breasted jackets, or cut double-breasted in russet linen and worn without any shirt. This co-ed collection even included a nautical section with double chalk-stripe microfiber jackets, ideal for a jaunt on a yacht.
“Elegant, professional and molto sexy,” smiled Armani, in a pre-show briefing inside the show’s backstage.
Armani can switch from the utterly charming to the curmudgeonly at warp speed. Notably when asked why he moved back to his historic headquarters at 11 Via Borgonuovo, and out of his modern show space on Via Bergognone.
“Others feel the need to run off to Taormina or Shanghai to show their clothes! So the location becomes more important than the clothes, which makes no sense to me in our fashion industry. Spending tons of money on planes, hotels, limousines,” snorted Giorgio, in a clear reference to Dolce & Gabbana and Prada; though conveniently forgetting that he took several score of editors and VIPs all the way to Tokyo last month for his own cruise show.
“You know, people tell me the audience gets bored with the same space,” he sniffs, indicating with a wave of his hands several of his communications staff. “And when I think how many billions I spent on building Via Bergognone,” he said, referring to his modern south Milan headquarters.
Why, one wondered, did he never do menswear couture, like other Milanese brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna or Dolce?
“It’s true there has been a major change in the way men dress for the evening; less bow ties, no real ties, even band collars. And many men want a more elaborate look. But we would never call that couture. We do have bespoke, made-to-measure for men, but I would not call that couture. Couture is women,” he scoffed.
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