Giorgio Armani’s inclusive fashion moment
On a tense Saturday morning in Milan, with extreme right-wing, anti-immigrant protestors and anti-Fascists marchers due to face off in the center of the city, Giorgio Armani sent out a collection extolling the idea of a world without frontiers.
“I’ve always worked in reaction to the times we live in, because clothes affect behaviors and attitudes. So, for this season I imagined a rich, boundless collection, inspired by many cultures as an ode to coexistence as opposed to exclusion,” said Armani immediately after the show, which was followed by the projection of a novel film, La Giacca, or The Jacket, created by students in Armani Laboratorio, his youth-orientated research center.
This was one of the most experimental collection in recent memory by one of fashion’s greatest ever tailors. Much of the collection was made in abstract patterns – flashes of red, gold and imperial purple. The references to distant cultures were subtle, not literal.
The heart of the matter were the pure sculptural shapes of the opening; done in Giorgio’s non-colors of putty, cement and clay; suggesting elements of Japanese design, Western minimalism and Russian nobility. Finished with Tudor velvet hats and Georgian shepherd’s caps worthy of a Niko Pirosmani painting. A co-ed collection with the guys in some brilliantly cut three-piece waffle corduroy suits and snazzy black velvet tuxedos.
Not perhaps Armani’s greatest show, since there were one too many experiments that clearly did not work. But this was nevertheless a bold statement by an octogenarian designer who keeps on setting off for fresh areas to conquer.
Post-show, it was Armani’s turn to sit front row; for a private screening of Una Giacca, a charming film made by eight students. Each of them hand picked to be mentored by Italian experts: from acting legend Michele Placido; cinematographer Luca Bigazzi ( La Grande Bellezza); and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci (Oscar winner for The Age of Innocence).
“I have always kept cinema as a design reference in my top drawer. So, this just feels right,” beamed Armani, before the projection of the short film, a witty tale of women’s empowerment, aided, of course, by a mannish Armani jacket that adds the right soupçon of gravitas to two young job applicants. They both get hired.
From the age of innocence to the Armani call for tolerance. A good message in our Me Too era.
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