Emporio Armani: Looking east, preparing for Paris Olympics
Giorgio Armani looked east this season, ranging around Asia for influences, models and music in a beautiful Emporio Armani collection staged in his fashion theatre on Saturday evening.
A collection greeted by prolonged applause which rose to a thunderous roar when a dozen members of the Italian Paralympics and Olympics teams toured the runway at the finale.
Waving red, white and green tricolors they circled the dazzling black runway, Armani leading the applause. All wearing the official uniform he composed for next year’s games in Paris. Iconic podium tracksuits with the phrase ‘W Italia’ on the front, made from satin patches, while the beginning of the national anthem is printed inside the collar of the polo shirts and T-shirts. The entire first verse is inside the jackets.
The show marked the almost total reconquest of black, in which 70% of the collection was composed, albeit rivalled by sandy gold. And a noticeably more dressed up mood in Emporio, so much so it felt like the signature Giorgio Armani collection at times. The latest expression of the huge sea-change in thinking by Italian menswear designers – who sense men’s desire more polish and formality.
The show backdrop was a giant sandy golden ginkgo plant, whose pale shape was the leitmotif of the collection. Seen in the opening looks, beautifully cut blazers, dusters and tunics – perforated with ginkgo petal shapes. His cast marching to a soundtrack that included Indochine Waltz by Matteo Ceccarini.
In terms of silhouette, Doctor Armani cut things nice and lose, with the musculature always hidden. He remains a superlative tailor and sent out fluid wrap jackets with just one button displaced to the side – a real must-have look that will be hugely influential. While his big new idea was a tuxedo jumpsuit that was marvelous.
Apart from the black, anthracite and lunar gray, Giorgio mixed in sandy gold silk shirts, cut with Mandarin collars, and printed images of ginkgo fossils onto perforated sweatshirts.
Practically, the whole collection could have been worn for evening – especially the elongated drawstring pants, double-breasted waistcoats, and some great dinner jackets, again done in a ginkgo print. The 250-million-year-old non-flowering seed plant, far better known for its fossils, itself an example of Armani’s continual search for timeless chic.
“I was thinking of Asia yes, but with a nice touch of Africa too,” noted Armani, sporting a new sweep-back hairstyle that wiped a decade of him.
Post-show, Armani – who began dressing the national team back in 2012 with the London Olympics - posed for photographers with the dozen athletes.
“I wanted to create functional yet stylish garments, designed to catch the eye and foster a powerful sense of belonging in our athletes,” explained Armani, an 89-year-old gent still very much at the top of his game.
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