Fashion: He might be the designer opening the most boutiques in the emerging markets of the future, but when it comes to his latest Emporio Armani collection the heart of the matter was innovative, homespun Italian tailoring.
Whatever they end up writing in his eventual biographies, Giorgio Armani will go down as the greatest fashion tailor of his generation, and at a moment when the fashion planet is obsessed with decoration and embellishment, it was neat to see this designer concentrating on cutting and shape.
His big new idea in the Emporio fall 2008 collection presented in south Milan Sunday afternoon was an unusual inverted tulip skirt, cut above the knee, but lower on the back that was a new look and one that will be copied and imitated by high street brands worldwide. None of the ersatz versions, of course, will match the quality of Armani's curvy originals, especially his best versions in mossy green or indigo blue velvet.
The remainder of what we saw was far more geometrical -- even the backdrop was an austere series of virtual columns, while on the catwalk we got close-fitting jackets in faux crocodile or faded silver, worn with a variety of pants. These varied from elongated jodhpur-style that billowed and were nipped at the ankle to flared techno pants for late night clubbing. His color palette varied from fuchsia and tobacco to aluminum and his geometric zigzag silver and black prints.
And if you thought mega sequins were a big London trend, then you should have witnesses Giorgio's finale, where jackets, skirts, tube tops and even berets were bedecked and bestrewn with paillettes so large they would make good betting chips.
No wonder Armani said this collection has a "sometimes eccentric slant." Eccentric maybe, but energetic and original and a cool confirmation that our septuagenarian friend is still experimenting.
By Godfrey Deeny
Courtesy Fashion Wire Daily