Giorgio Armani: Rather timely thoughts
Few designers have had as remarkable a career as Giorgio Armani, and his unique fashion history was the subject of a hagiographic video that preceded the presentation of the latest collection by Italy’s most famous living designer, shown online on Saturday night. No one could even accuse Armani of being blemished by the crime of false modesty.
Giorgio Armani entirely avoided any live catwalk show this Milan Fashion Week, but he did stage this close-door show of his signature collection on Saturday night on the internet. And preceded it with the 15-minute mini-bio of his design and brand entitled "Timeless Thoughts."
Narrated by Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, it was a greatest hits of Giorgio’s most special moments: From Armani as a draper and tailor inside his lush studio, to interviews where he expounds his design philosophy to a multitude of big names.
"I wanted to evolve my woman and not betray her," opined Armani, speaking with his movie star looks of 40 years ago.
There were scores of magazine covers of Giorgio, and even a HSBC ad; twice as many images of movie stars in his clothes; as well as Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and the mayor of Milan providing elegies.
"He started his revolution with the suit jacket, deconstructed it and made it like a second skin… avoiding any cross dressing effect," argued Favino legitimately.
"The fabrics are always soft, the colors are always neutral… ever since 1975, when supported by his only partner Sergio Galeotti, he decided to dress real people," intoned the actor's velvety voice.
All the way to "One Night Only" and his support of Bono’s Red movement, Armani’s multiple hotel openings and the global impact of American Gigolo, when dressing Richard Gere led to dressing the Gotha of Hollywood.
After that, the collection felt a tad like an afterthought. Happily, it was a perfectly respectable display, especially its menswear, even if all told it was not quite a vintage season.
Set against a putty gray wall, Armani sent out pure, fluid looks for ladies – from feather-light deconstructed jackets and lapel-free boleros to languid dhotis in abstract prints and some wonderful Asian-influence floral-print dresses. All with the majestic fluidity one expects from Armani.
Plus, his unshaven, smart seducer guys were a reminder of why so many men will always love Armani’s tailoring – he makes them look like sexy assassins.
Sleekly slouchy double-breasted jackets, dandy chauffeur tunics and flawless double-breasted silk waistcoats, all in wonderful light yet stiff fabrics for the boys. The entire cast walked on a metallic catwalk before giant vistas of deserts and mountains but, once again, in non-specific hues and shades.
This ready-to-wear collection fit the cast so well, they looked like couture clothes measured and fitted individually. A timely reminder that while his aesthetic may have stayed a little trapped in the aspic of the 80s and 90s, Armani’s tailoring remains the best of any living designer. Not bad for a man of 86.
Reacting to the bio and video, some fans even began posting the opening credits of American Gigolo on social media – Richard Gere driving down the Pacific Highway in his Mercedes 350 after an assignation with a rich lady client.
Giorgio Armani lives.
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