Iconoclasm is seldom the path to major power and immeasurable wealth. But boy, has it worked for Giorgio Armani. He is a rare breed of establishment lord who gives not a whit about the norms and conventions in place elsewhere. He does what he wants and for fall, what he wanted to do was, well, everything.
A line from Armani’s program notes read “Variety as a form of contemporary consistency.” That’s Italian for cornucopia of crazy. There was so much going on in this show it left your head spinning, sometimes because of the sheer volume of thoughts zipping past and because sometimes those thoughts left you confused. This approach stood in contrast to Armani’s spring collection, which was hyper focused to lovely effect.
Armani opened simply enough, with short jackets over front-draped pants and a pair of good-looking coats, tucked through the torso and released into an easy silhouette. Then he got rolling with the diversity angle – jackets of numerous varieties and pants, pants, pants. Wide pants, lean pants, pants that were really four billowing panels worn over tights, and pants that were really hilarious (elegant black pleat-paneled skirt in front attached to fanny-hugging pants in back, bright red, no less).
Red-with-black proved a mini motif, particularly in solid and patterned jackets over pants. Other color statements popped as well: belted, patch-pocketed coats in high-contrast primary red and blue combinations; jewel-toned velvet separates, some cut with athletic panache and others, more tailored and worn with necklaces strung with big, flashy tassels; a coat and jacket in a flamboyant abstract scenic jacquard.
Fleeting attention went as well to the dogs (a printed jacket and pictorial sweater), artisanal exotica (beaded, tasseled cage boleros) and going green, in a mohair poncho and shaggy goat hair jacket, both over black pants. Evening featured similar range, from a lean tuxedo with crystaled vest and tuxedo stripes to a dress a-glimmer with all-over multicolor crystals. Its dark romance mesmerized.
Given the abundance, there should be something for just about every Armani customer to buy and wear. But she’ll be on her own, as Armani offered more ideas than direction.