Giorgio Armani is watching. One of his piercing blue eyes stared out from his fall invitation and runway backdrop, his men’s show opening with a brief video clip of the Italian fashion maestro approaching a backstage peep hole to check the audience’s reaction to his fashion show.
On Monday, he observed via a monitor, and would have witnessed a lot of dusty footprints and scuff marks on his lacquered black runway — and an attentive, largely appreciative audience for his brisk show, which exalted his cardigan-like tailoring, nimble mixes of classic menswear fabrics like tweed, herringbone and flannel and, surprisingly, leopard-print velvet and an avalanche of looks from his skiwear range Neve.
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For his terrific Emporio Armani collection earlier in the week, the designer revisited bold-shoulder looks from the ’80s. For his signature collection, he also took some cues from the period, when “American Gigolo” helped popularize his languid jackets free of padding and, frequently, lapels, and his mushroom-y color palette.
Here were 2024 versions of his slouchy, pajama-soft suit jackets, some nearly fingertip length, and his loose, pajama-like pants, some cuffed, some elasticated at the ankle, and others cinched by tabs that hovered around ankle boots, the shoes of the Milan season.
While the show lacked some oomph, the silhouettes and sophisticated fabric mixes were unmistakably Armani, updated here and there with utility details and mixed in with performance and après-ski pieces from the Neve line.
“These are clothes that I could also wear, and this is a path that I have always followed,” Armani said backstage. “The proportions are bigger, in sync with the trend, and this allows for more ease, I find it right to put the accent on this sense of ease.”
He explained the surfeit of Neve pieces by arguing that activewear is “part of our everyday lives: It is no longer absurd to wear padded pants under a jacket.”
And he’s resolute that menswear doesn’t have to be an “object of desire at all costs.”
“It has to be about a beautiful suit, a beautiful jacket, a beautiful fabric and color, and the combination of these, nothing more, otherwise it becomes a meaningless carnival,” he explained. “This is a more difficult exercise.”
With neckties popping up on many Milan runways this season, does the blue-eyed designer see a comeback? “I do hope it returns,” he mused, noting he thinks ties look right for certain occasions.
— With contributions from Luisa Zargani
Launch Gallery: Giorgio Armani Men's Fall 2024
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