Giorgio Armani faces winter with elegance and levity
"Let it snow," Giorgio Armani seemed to be saying with his latest collection. Presented in Milan on Monday evening, beneath a continuous flurry of virtual snowflakes, the wardrobe thought up by the Milanese couturier for next winter was received with great enthusiasm by his show's guests.
The first silhouettes to come down the catwalk were covered with enormous ice cubes made of recycled plexiglass, looks that were part of Armani's Neve collection, dedicated to alpine pursuits. Wrapped up in snug blankets and cosmic ski suits with shoulders bulked out by protectors, the models looked like intergalactic explorers with their mittens, ski goggles and balaclavas.
After the winter sports, it was time to head back to the city, where the Armani man pushed the boundaries with clothes that combined class and comfort. The looks dreamed up by the Italian designer this season channelled timeless style, preparing the wearers to face the most extreme cold but with a touch of tenderness. It was a wardrobe where formal wear seemed to shake loose from its restraints and develop into a kind of hushed soft tailoring.
Stiff-collared shirts were out. Aside from a smattering of polos, models favoured crew-neck sweaters and jumpers, or gilets, opting to protect their necks from chills by wrapping themselves in scarfs or turning up the collars of their jackets. Others took refuge in shearling jackets and large shawl-collared coats with classic proportions but super-light structures, without a hint of rigidity.
Some coats were made in astrakhan wool or shimmering velvet. Mandarin-collar jackets were paired with loose creased trousers pulled in at the ankle or tucked into boots for a retro twist. Other flowing jackets had been made like cardigans, in ultra-light cashmere or wool, while certain blousons and short coats were lined with cosy fur.
The whole range of classic menswear fabrics was present on the runway and yet these usually sturdy materials here created an unprecedented feeling of lightness, an impression emphasised by each movement of the models. The whole collection oozed luxury, giving off a sense of effortless elegance as the looks transited through a dégradé of greys, blacks, navy blues, khaki and burgundy, masterfully interspersed with lighter hues.
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