The ink was barely dry on the coverage of the Oscars red carpet when the Giorgio Armani show took place in Milan on Monday morning.
And, while Isabelle Huppert, Nicole Kidman and Oscar winner Viola Davis showcased the designer’s elegant take on glamour at Sunday night’s ceremony, on Monday it was back to business.
Actors in Armani designs are a great photo opp, but the brand knows that its success has come by appealing to women who are more likely to be found in the boardroom. It first saw success in the 1980s, after all, and has customers who have been buying Armani for nearly 40 years.
Fittingly, trousers opened the show and continued as a theme. Every trouser imaginable was represented: cropped and velvet, wide with polka dots, tuxedo with a stripe of sequin. One dominated and felt new, even in the Armani trouser canon: a sort of tulip shape with tapered legs and an extra section of fabric that fastened over the leg and at the model’s waist.
Armani’s collections work less to trends and more to the designer’s own aesthetic, which evolves slowly each season to retain the brand’s loyal customer base. If that means some of the looks feel out of step with the rest of fashion, his signatures are always impeccable.
This time the coats and jackets – a long A-line wool design, a trench, a double-breasted blazer – were strong. Perhaps a sign of change came in hints of playfulness that would work well on Instagram: a sweater with a fox terrier on it and velvet slippers with a “GA” monogram perfect for a “shoe-fie”.
The show notes described the collection as “a new adaptation of the Armani style: free, aware, subtly irreverent”, and there are always several Armani quirks to a show: the penchant for hats (trilbies on Monday), two models walking simultaneously, and spontaneous applause from the audience.
After a series of sequin gowns, the final dress was a floor-length multi-coloured chainmail showstopper. Not to clap seemed churlish.
Giorgio Armani is 82, leading to constant speculation about retirement. For Armani himself, that looks to be in the dim and distant future. Already a giant of Italian fashion, with hotels and restaurants in his portfolio, he is now a club mogul.
Giorgio’s, his members’ club on Thursday nights in Milan, is now the place to go for the city’s cognoscenti. The Armani group is Italy’s second-largest fashion company (after Prada), posting revenues of £2.3bn in 2015. 2016 was less robust with net revenues down 5%. Speaking in January, Armani described the economic situation as “complicated”.
Monday was the final day of Milan fashion week, with Prada, Gucci and Marni the highlights. The focus now shifts to Paris, where Anthony Vaccarello shows his second collection for Yves Saint Laurent on Tuesday evening.
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