Fashion Show: MILAN FASHION SHOW Ready to wear

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Emporio Armani

Fall 2010

MILAN, February 26, 2010
Uptown Girl was the show's title, and Giorgio Armani wasn't about to resist the irrevocable eighties-ness of the idea. But, given Emporio's more mass-tige leanings, he took an interesting tack. In what could have been a nod to Emanuel Ungaro in his heyday, thigh-high ruched chiffon skirts matched jackets with a definite squared shoulder, and there were floaty draped tops, every so often gathered into a flower of fabric. The pleated cropped pants also recalled a particular moment in the passage of haute couture during the eighties.

Aside from one faded floral, Armani used his signature muted greige/oyster/nude palette, which was a modernizing touch. But he definitely ramped up the glam factor, from the fur jackets that were shown in a range of treatments to the Lurex checkerboard jackets and the closing sequence of pieces lathered with large black paillettes. Even when Armani showed a gray pinstripe suit, the skirt was swagged to the side—and super-short. Reality writ large has been a theme in Milan this season, so it makes sense that Giorgio the über-realist should be one of its prime exponents.

Spring 2010

MILAN, September 26, 2009
With iffy employment prospects for the young a sudden hard reality—and the competition for the few good jobs consequently all the fiercer—the idea of a viable go-to-work wardrobe might strike a new generation as sharply relevant for the first time in their lives. If so, Emporio Armani could be a port of call. The first tranche of today's collection recast career-appropriate clothing in ways that could be palatable for a girl who'd hate to be seen dead in her mother's kind of office uniform. Instead of a straight-up career suit, there was a jacket with a flippy godet skirt, and a matched short gray-blue dress and jacket with a modern-looking petaled swoop in front. Combinations of shrunken suede jackets and city shorts had the kind of proportions that nod to fashion but wouldn't look wildly gauche in a pitch meeting.

The vast Emporio line didn't stick wholly to that agenda, but amidst the merchandise lodged under the subsequent heading Spots and Stripes in Black and White, there were a ton of potential options for an aspiring new working woman. After that, though, the color was switched on—and turned up loud to coral, turquoise, and fuchsia—and it became more difficult to see where, exactly, the end user would find a place to wear these clothes. Things made more sense when it got to beachwear and scuba-cum-tropical-print bikinis. Those could give a girl another reason to shop for her vacation in 2010—provided she's got that paycheck coming in, of course.

Fall 2009

MILAN, February 26, 2009
Just over a week ago, Giorgio Armani opened a sweeping three-story flagship to house all of his labels under one roof on Fifth Avenue in New York. It was the party of fashion week—with a celebrity contingent that included Leonardo DiCaprio and Victoria Beckham, the glow of flashbulbs popping could be seen for blocks. Today, though, Armani set aside grown-up glamour for a moment, sending out an Emporio collection that had a much more youthful, sometimes schoolgirl-ish feel. That was due not only to the styling—sheer kneesocks accompanied nearly every look—but also to the silhouette. In place of the artful and quirky pants the designer is so fond of, there were pleated shorts for day and evening, along with a fair number of shorter skirts and baby-doll dresses.

That's not to say Armani ignored the many Emporio customers who no longer qualify as ingenues. His show had jackets and coats to tempt them. He started with a zip-front, collarless trench (though that's as masculine as things got). A pair of fitted jackets in soft, washed leather with ruffles at the collar stood out, but bouclé tweeds and velvets also made the lineup, as did knit cardigan-style toppers. What was seductive about those was their drape, the way they hugged the lines of the shoulders and torso without clinging. This something-for-everyone collection means Armani's new store on Fifth Avenue just might be an ideal mother-daughter shopping spot.

Spring 2009

MILAN, September 21, 2008
When Giorgio Armani began his Emporio Armani show two seasons ago with an ad for his fragrance, Diamonds, starring Beyoncé, the commercial interruption was diverting enough—after all, it was Beyoncé. The ad for the designer's branded Samsung phone that was screened before today's Emporio presentation? Less so. As for the bare-chested boys sporting enormous, (we're assuming) fake GA logo tattoos at the end of the show, they, too, were a distraction from a collection that had many strong points.

This is a season of easy, slouchy pants—a trend that Armani happens to have been perfecting for years. The leopard-print shorts worn over a trouser suit were a step too far, but there was nothing tricky about the washed-silk numbers that tapered elegantly to the ankle or ballooned above a deep cuff. Shorts with crossover waistbands also looked of the moment. In the jacket department, a cool, oversize tuxedo embroidered all over in crystals and a graceful ivory topper with a sculptural bow at the waist both stood out. The show's East-meets-West theme produced other jackets with mandarin collars, some of which were draped in multiple strands of beads and pearls. And vests turned up for both day and after dark, alternately topping long full skirts or narrow ones slit up the back. Things took a sweet turn when barefoot models strolled out in baby blue, pink, and yellow sequined gowns. Halter tops and ankle-scraping skirts in the same bejeweled tones were a more novel approach to evening, but they didn't have the same appeal as Armani's assured tailoring.

Fall 2008

MILAN, February 17, 2008
Giorgio Armani opened his Emporio show with a nip-waisted, flaring velvet coat that had a zipper descending diagonally from one shoulder to the opposite hip. It's a silhouette that's become familiar these last few seasons chez Armani, but he quickly segued into the "relaxed approach" and "masculine aplomb" his show notes promised, and in what felt like a return of sorts to his roots, he sent out a battalion's worth of pants. Double-pleated and cuffed in techno-utility fabrics or fuller through the thighs and tapering to the ankles in velvet, they were paired with jackets in oversize checks, stamped crocodile, chalk stripes, metallic leather, and more. The variety of fabrics notwithstanding, nearly all of those jackets were cut close to the body and fitted through the waist, and in keeping with the show's tailored turn, the hats, bags, and jewelry that accessorized every look were often spare and geometric in feeling. Even the casting was focused on models with short, angular haircuts.

That's not to say Armani neglected feminine sparkle—his repertoire, to say nothing of his retail footprint, is too wide-ranging for that. The crystal- and mirror-encrusted dresses that closed the show should appeal to the customer who insists on always dressing like a lady. But in a season when everyone is talking about the return of sportswear separates, it was good to see the designer largely playing to his first strength.

Spring 2008

MILAN, September 26, 2007
The show opened with an advertisement for Emporio Armani's new fragrance, Diamonds, starring Beyoncé Knowles performing the famous Marilyn Monroe tune ("I don't mean rhinestones!" et cetera). Wanton commercialism? Maybe. But there's no denying Armani was onto something: A few hours later, Frida Giannini would kick off the Gucci show with a perfume ad directed by David Lynch. If nothing else, the coincidence gave the "Beyond trends" phrase Armani flashed across his runway backdrop an extra spin.

But it has to be said: This little-sister line did have it all. There were an array of jackets, in black-and-white checks, in wool bouclés, in washed silks—the best was an elongated satin-lapelled tux worn with short shorts. Rhinestone-encrusted halters also made the lineup, as did crystal-studded strapless tops, sequined tanks, and modified versions of those knee-tied pants Armani showed on Monday. Then there were brief minis, poufy skirts that came with matching knickers, and silk tap pants. If you want a romper, Emporio's got those, too. Holding it all together was a "Don't worry, be happy" attitude that should go over well with the Beyoncé generation. And how about those smiles on the models' faces?

Fall 2007

MILAN, February 21, 2007
Grown-up elegance is the Giorgio Armani signature—but he took his Emporio Armani collection in a decidedly more youthful direction. What with all the baby blues and Bazooka pinks and minidresses parading two and three at a time down the runway, it felt almost like prom night. The comparatively young models, sporting trompe l'oeil stockings that looked like knee socks, contributed to the overall effect.

Working in black, white, and gray mixed with pastels—and an airy silhouette strikingly similar to that of his main line, down to the pointy flats—Armani opened with a bubble skirt and jacket, a checkerboard fur shrug tossed over one shoulder. After that, he worked his way through a teenage army of tiny frocks: abbreviated A-lines, innocent baby dolls, and swingy trapezes accented with bows or crystals, some as bright as hard candy. Here, as in his signature line, he kept pants to the sidelines: The few pairs he did show were cropped and worn with abbreviated jackets left unbuttoned to expose the somewhat ill-advised bra tops, one sour note amid the show's nonstop sugar high.

Spring 2007

LONDON, September 21, 2006
This season, the Emporio Armani show was less about what was on the runway than what was going on around it. Giorgio Armani transplanted his presentation to Earls Court exhibition center in London, invited Beyoncé Knowles and 50 Cent to perform in front of a massive audience, and—for good measure—asked Bono, Bobby Shriver, Ashley Judd, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kim Cattrall, and Alicia Keys to speak. It was all in aid of charity—the RED initiative to raise money for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Bono spoke of the 30 cents it costs for the two pills it takes to tackle HIV, and proselytized the RED slogan: "Shop till it Stops." As for the collection, in broad terms, it was all short: short taffeta dresses, shrunken jackets in pinstripe, and shorts done in a half-dozen varieties of tailored and puffy shapes, and it all came in black, gray, red, and white. Certainly, the clothes conveyed Armani's abiding aesthetic, but in the end, the event wasn't about fashion trends—it was about pulling back to look at a bigger picture.

Fall 2006

MILAN, February 22, 2006
Giorgio Armani has major ambitions for his Emporio empire. Talking backstage among racks of spotted dévoré velvet dresses, puff-shouldered leather jackets, taffeta bubble skirts, rabbit and fake-fur coats, and rows and rows of crocodile-stamped ballerina flats and platforms, he said his second line is going global; 13 new stores will open this year, with 19 more by the end of 2007.

To fuel that turbo-charged expansion, he's harnessed his young team of studio designers to take the collection—and the accessories—in a direction that is much more sharply in step with fashion. His opening look was a narrow laser-cut fake-fur coat over a knee-length skirt, silk blouse, and squared-off ballet flats with metal-tipped bows at the toe—the Emporio version of the bourgeois lady look, neatly nailed. Like Armani's main collection, Emporio avoided pants (if you overlook the odd pair of wide-leg taffeta knickers) in favor of a jacket-and-skirt or jacket-over-dress combination. The designer also reprised the forties silhouette in velvet polka dots as well as working up many variations of draped bubble skirts.

Armani tends to show so many outfits on the runway that the collection becomes difficult to digest. A better way to look at them is separately, on a rack, the way they'll be seen in a store. In that context, many of the elements—those tiny, curvy, battered-leather spencers, a rockin' zebra-print fake-fur jacket, the chunky-glam shoes, and his first great hat, a fox cossack with a black patent visor—qualify as pretty cool.

Spring 2006

MILAN, September 26, 2005
In recent years, we've come to understand Italian secondary lines as collections with clear focuses of their own. That's the confusion in this Emporio Armani spring show—the sheer volume of details and options on the runway got in the way of any connecting line of thought.

It started with little black-and-white jackets, shown with sheer skirts worn over knee shorts. From there, it was onto soft crepe skirtsuits with flyaway satin frills, then ruffle-edged cropped pants, followed by striped T-shirts and taffeta sailor trousers. After these came various short, leather and suede jackets, some in pastels with satin ribbon binding and pouch-pocket pants, and then a sudden riff on accordion-pleated wrapped skirts. The effect—before the bugle-beaded eveningwear began to appear—was of a bemusingly random selection from what is obviously a huge commercial line. It's a pity that it distracted from the legendary strength of Giorgio Armani's rigorous, minimalist hand. If he stripped back on detail, allowed the bones of his classics to shine—and showed less—it would give his presentation far greater impact.

No comments:

Post a Comment