Giorgio Armani

ARMANI’S MUSINGS: Giorgio Armani revealed on Monday that the first coed show for his namesake brand will take place at the Silos exhibition space in February. The designer said he is looking at “elevating fashion to a different, more elegant level. We are not talking about couture, but ready-to-wear can still [command] an elegant approach and presentation to the audience.” The designer’s perception of the shows this season was of a rushed press running to “huge shows, here and there in Milan.”

“The audience has to be a little bit ‘shocked’ by the clothes but also by the atmosphere that you can create, which is not the one that I saw others have created. It seems to me that I’m in the condition of being able to decide to change that a little bit,” he said.

The designer also lamented a lack of imagination in fashion. “It [worries] me to leaf through a magazine, because we made this in 1968, that in 1975, so it seems to me that it’s repetitive, taking Armani and redoing Armani. I think it’s too easy.”

He was speaking after his Emporio Armani show, reprising a tradition of meeting the press to discuss the collection and respond to questions — a tradition that he had abandoned for a few seasons. Armani was in fine form, answering a request to comment on the Dolce & Gabbana debacle in China, deflating his staff’s efforts to steer the subject onto safer territory. “It’s a journalist’s question, I can answer it,” Armani said firmly. Despite past squabbles with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, his tone was neutral and not belligerent, while he conceded that the two designers were “a little imprudent. I have had contacts with the Chinese and they don’t like jokes.” He reminisced about an invitation years ago from the mayor of Shanghai and other notables of the city — all very formal. When asked at the time about Chinese fashion, Armani jokingly said he was available and at their service. “I was met with ice,” he deadpanned. He also praised the Chinese people’s ability to manufacture relevant products — and fast.

Asked about pointing to a place where one could live well, he said it was “difficult,” pointing to terrorism, social unrest and tsunamis affecting so many countries. “We have influenced nature and we have to live with it.” Regarding Brexit, he said “it should be easier to go to London, without being conditioned by any law, which in a certain way punishes us and punishes London and the U.K. I’m so sorry, but I think it doesn’t make any sense.”

Finally, Sky Arte, on Wednesday, will broadcast backstage footage of Armani working on his latest Privé collection last July in Paris, with contributions from the likes of Cate Blanchett. “But I didn’t speak — on the contrary, I cut here and there,” he said, with a small laugh. His next couture show will take place at the Hôtel d’Évreux in Place Vendôme.