In complicated, hard times, being aware of priorities is fundamental.
With his women’s and men’s fall shows, filmed separately at the Armani Theater in Milan, Giorgio Armani suggested what his own are: reassuring with fashion and telegraphing a message of respect for Mother Nature and its creatures.
The designer unveiled his so-Armani collections with digital runway shows shot on a set dominated by a light projection of the GA logo and by a shimmering green reproduction of Uri, the gorilla statue from a movie set the designer was given years ago and which steals the spotlight in the living room of his Milan apartment.
“Uri, a biblical name meaning ‘my flame, my light’, is an eccentric element that contrasts strongly with its domestic surroundings. It reflects my great love for animals and nature and helps to create, with lightness, a sort of oasis in my home in Milan,” said the designer. “I decided to put it at the center of the scene because I think it is essential, now more than ever, to remind people how important it is to protect the natural world. My commitment on this front is great.”
Last year, the Armani Group made a significant donation to World Wildlife Fund to help safeguard gorillas, which are an endangered species.
Armani’s tribute to nature didn’t stop there. The designer was inspired by the elements for the prints while embroideries of flowers and leaves enriched his women’s designs, which felt more feminine and romantic than usual.
“I’m not abandoning my idea of simplicity, or even of precision, but I think this moment calls for kindness, and perhaps even a touch of romance,” said Armani. “This is an element that is merely hinted at, captured by the detail of a small ruche on the collar, by light flashes of crystals on a surface, or by delicate and surprising colors. This is a collection that is gracefully reassuring.”
The lineup was certainly reassuring, offering a compilation of Armani’s signatures: The brand’s iconic lightweight jackets, the pants echoing sarong styles, the suits with elongated blazers and fluid pants, as well as the rigorous coats with military touches, were all there, rendered in materials ranging from shiny silk to plush velvet and in a watery color palette of blues and greens, combined with black and gray.
Ruffles blooming on the bodice of tops, or on the collars of shirts, added feminine delicacy, which was celebrated in the fluid, intricately embroidered gowns — some featuring pockets, a symbol of Armani’s practical spirit. Cascades of rhinestones introduced some glamorous sparkle on unfussy black velvet designs.
The same sense of reassuring elegance in the women’s collection also stood out in the men’s lineup.
“Over the years I have built up a repertoire of easily recognizable forms. Deconstructed or knitted jackets, as well those crafted in velvet, are elements that belong to me, and which the public recognizes as mine,” said the designer. “In this collection I have brought everything together in an eclectic way, imagining a man in front of his wardrobe, dressing according to his instinct and the mood of the moment.”
The typically relaxed, easy designs included softly constructed jackets with Chinese collars, knitted, fuzzy bombers, and velvet workwear-inspired jackets. Geometric intarsia in contrasting materials added graphic eccentricity to blazers and coats, while paisley patterns and kimono-like lightweight robes added a bohemian vibe.
While Armani continued to deliver an assertive masculinity, for fall he portrayed a wide range of individuals, from the sporty guy living in the city dressed in an elevated tracksuit to the executive in tailored suits and the adventurer carrying reusable bottles hooked onto his belt.
Armani is the staunch guardian of realism in fashion, but this season he injected an alluring sense of romance, too — all along remembering the real needs of today’s women and men.