ARMANI MUSINGS: “There is nothing like a classic fashion show — it’s the best and there is no alternative,” Giorgio Armani believes.
“You can [turn] to the creativity of a director or of an artist in general, but there is nothing that gives you the same emotion of a dress that moves on the body of a man or a woman — there are no words, no beautiful photos that can compete with that,” the designer added, speaking to a small group of journalists on Saturday morning at his Teatro, usually the stage for his fashion shows.
This season, after showing his fall collection behind closed doors in February, Armani previewed a 20-minute documentary, “Timeless Thoughts,” narrated by Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, who won the Coppa Volpi at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, ahead of the video of his spring show. Both were to be broadcast on Sunday evening on primetime on Italy’s La7 channel, as well as on armani.com, on the brand’s social networks and on the Italian Chamber of Fashion’s platform. On TV, the show was to be followed by “American Gigolo,” the movie starring Richard Gere and forever associated with Armani.
The documentary spans Armani’s career, launched in 1975 with his partner Sergio Galeotti, with excerpts from television interviews over the years, his personal memories, archival photos, magazine covers (including Time magazine from 1982), images from his “One Night Only” events around the world and of the designer flanked by several of the Hollywood actors he has dressed over the years. This includes Julia Roberts, Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett, along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise, to name a few. In one clip, Sophia Loren sweetly kisses Armani on the cheek — ah, those times before social distancing became a must.
“A few months ago, I was perplexed about the documentary. I thought I could be seen as a show-off, but then I thought people outside [the industry] may not know most of my story and what lies behind it, so I went ahead with it,” Armani said, as he and the press wore protective face masks.
He said there were “connections between the past and the present” evidenced by the documentary. “I held on to my opinions long and hard,” he said firmly, a nod to the title of the documentary.
Of course, Armani, known for his hands-on approach to the tiniest details, has been working on the documentary since June, carefully selecting the images, the text read by Favino, the campaigns, and so on, even complaining that a “stubborn” collaborator left in something that he disliked. No matter, it was a moving tribute to his work over more than four decades.
Asked about the coed format used for the Emporio and Giorgio Armani shows this week, the designer was cautious about a future direction.
“It depends on [the course of the pandemic]. It’s more logical this way as it regroups people only once, but it does hamper the visibility of the men’s wear in favor of women’s wear,” he opined. “Let’s see what happens; we have to wait anxiously, as is the rest of the world. To make a decision now is absurd. As you know, I will show my couture in Milan at my palazzo in Via Borgonuovo [in January] and not in Paris. It’s a precise choice and I stand by it.”
Asked if he missed taking a bow on the runway, he demurred and quipped: “Maybe if I were 30 years younger…”
Rather than taking a virtual bow at the end of the presentation, Armani paid tribute to his recently passed cat Angel, panning on a jacket with the image of a sequined cat to close the video.