Armani: Lightness and sophistication
Giorgio Armani was standing in a crowd of models at the end of his show explaining why he thought his outfits had such a success at the Oscars––not just his long-term male fans like Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington, but also the female surprises. Nicole Kidman and French actress Isabelle Huppert both appeared in pale, shimmery, slender dresses, while Viola Davis accepted her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a red Armani Privé gown. They all got the red carpet thumbs up.
“Lightness and sophistication,” said Armani––and that was pretty much the essence of this Autumn/Winter 2017 collection that closed the Milan season.
There was a sporty feel about the daytime clothes, which included, among the tailoring, jackets that had a fleeting look of a fleece because of the velvet surface. But the real surprise were what appeared to be long skirts that morphed into pants at the back. They went with the flow of a softer, gentler Armani collection.
The designer was in a playful mood with small trilby hats perched on each head, patterns of little dogs and vivid color on velour. The clothes popped in scarlet and royal blue or grass green.
This sweet gentility merged into evening dresses, rather few by Armani standards––but with convincing combinations of abstract patterns in beading teamed with more of the velvet pants.
Slender dresses, worked with the elegance of Armani Privé couture outfits, were all striking in a good way. They seemed to enhance the wearer, rather than shouting for attention. No wonder that the designer has become known at the Academy Awards for grace.
Emporio Armani’s wide range
While the Giorgio Armani show was clear and well lit, what does it say about the Armani empire that social media seems to have drawn a blank when it came to over 100 outfits in the Emporio Armani collection? There were visual treasures, from checked black and white coats with a trickle of scarlet ribbon to sporty wide-legged pants printed like a chessboard. So why was there a universal laying down of smartphones in this graphic show?
Whether through fear of copyists or from the vagaries of fashion show lighting, the entire show––with its sporty energy and textures that saw plastic and fluffy jackets facing off against each other––was digitally unfriendly. Seen from the audience through a smartphone screen, the image was a ghostly white.
Many designers today are frustrated that their front rows are filled with editors lifting up their phones when they are the privileged few who see the clothes with their own eyes.
As one of the guilty snappers, I would agree that there should be a balance between editors absorbing the textures, detail and mood of the live spectacles to which they’ve been invited and recording it as an aide-mémoire––just like we used to sketch and take notes back in the old days––as well as to share with the wider public.
Our Instagram age may have turned fashion into a sport of celebrity posturing at times, but digital access has also unpeeled the exclusivity of fashion––which can only be a good thing.