As a long time Milan resident, Giorgio Armani is familiar with cold January days and for his autumn/winter 2017 menswear show he set about creating a wardrobe to combat such weather.
This being Armani, hiking jackets and thermals won’t do. The collection shown at the brand’s discreetly elegant HQ was a study in his now signature outerwear, something men around the world know the designer for.
There were long military-style greatcoats, velvet jackets, oversized shaggy shearling coats, leather macs, bombers and enormous padded jackets, the latter provoking spontaneous applause.
Models also wore gloves and some wore a garments referred to as “sleeve-scarves” in the show notes. To the uninitiated, the sleeve-scarf is an item that would perplex Houdini – jumper sleeves combined with a scarf wrapped around the neck. If the addition was quizzical, the overall message was clear: Armani has a style solution for 2017, whatever the temperature.
The show notes described the collection as “evolving codes to define an idea of elegance tuned-in to the present, but rich with heritage”. Armani, now more than 40 years old as a brand and with an 82-year-old as its designer, walks this line of heritage and relevance.
The numbers don’t lie. The Armani group is an Italian fashion giant. It is the country’s second-largest fashion company, posting revenues of £2.3bn in 2015, behind only Prada with £3.1bn.
But even mega-brands are not immune to wobbles. Net revenues were down 5% in 2016, and when asked what this year would bring, the founder described the economic situation as complicated.
In an attempt to stem any further complications, Armani announced a foundation in his name in July last year. As well as a home for philanthropic projects, it will act like a trust after the designer – who is without a hereditary heir and has yet to name a successor – dies, and protect the company from takeover.
The foundation administrators will now be responsible for the company. In a statement Armani said the new structure would “safeguard the governance of assets of the Armani Group and ensure that these are kept stable over time”.
The future was also in the frame earlier in the day at Armani HQ, when it was the venue for Nuova Generazione Di Designer. The showcase of three young brands, selected by Armani and Milan’s fashion body, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, was the first time that Armani had lent his space to a multi-designer show.
The collections shown – by Yoshio Kubo, Moto Guo and Consistence – were varied. Kubo’s collection was an unusual fusion of streetwear and bohemia, inspired by bareback bronco riding in the US, and consisting of garments such as a pair of silk pyjamas with a long padded jacket.
Moto Guo, designed by three designers based in Malaysia, showcased models in outfits that recalled both Japanese school uniforms and the clothes worn by the Von Trapps in The Sound of Music.
Consistence, a London-based label, was the most Armani-ish of the three, with suiting, pinstripes, trenchcoats and cropped trousers. London’s reputation as the fashion city for new talent remains unthreatened by these collections, but Milan’s search for its own next generation has to be applauded.
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