MILAN, JANUARY 18, 2016
by ALEXANDER FURY
The titles of Giorgio Armani collections aren’t the pontificating, mysticism-wrapped epithets other designers favor. “Up to Date,” he called his Fall 2016 menswear Emporio Armani show. Isn’t that what fashion should always be?
And doesn’t it actually characterize Mr. Armani’s style? Because, though we may think of Armani as a traditionalist dead set on double-breasting men into familiar tailoring, his output has actually been marked by a striking modernism. In the ’70s he deconstructed the stuffy canvas-basted suit into something more free flowing, looser, and modern. It remains one of the most important developments in modern male tailoring, actually pulling apart the structure of the stuff and making it fit differently, rather than just tinkering with hemlines.
Armani made his Emporio look up to date here by injecting a sense of ease, once again. He did denim, cut generously but not wide; more significantly, he translated the ethos of practicality and simplicity so seductive in blue jeans into the different facets of this collection. There was an aspect of tech, in treated tweed and leather bonding, taping and reflective panels. Armani opened with an avalanche of skiwear, aluminum foil parachute trousers glistening under streamlined knits and mirrored goggles, which set the mood, if not the precise aesthetic template.
The mood and modes of sportswear impacted the entirety of the collection, through Prince of Wales tailoring, velvet evening tuxedos, and Nehru-collared daywear inflected with military undertones. The Emporio palette, Armani said, was organic—but to me, it looked colder, more technological: the gray scale of skyscrapers and computer keyboards, the blue hues and green screens of screensavers and lasers. Hackneyed, but it had impact.
Occasionally, Armani’s urge to update can estrange his audience, although his clients always seem able to delve into the rails and pull out something that feels coherent for everyday life. The easiness in not only wearing this collection, but in watching it—and relating it to the everyday lives of the everyman—was a pleasant departure. And when every other label in Milan is spouting off about “real” wardrobes (and often offering anything but), Armani’s eminently actual offering felt entirely up to date.