The inspiration was writ large across the catwalk - literally, by way of a projection of tarnished girders across the vast show space in the Via Bergognone.
Many people sneer when fashion designers claim they create architecture for the body - even when they've trained in the field. After all, if a house falls down, people die; if a dress doesn't fit, you just don't wear it (thank Mr Lagerfeld for that bon mot). However, there's more than a passing similarity between construction and the man's tailored suit - hence, when Giorgio Armani titled his latest Emporio collection 'Industrial', it wasn't too far a leap to ally the two.
The inspiration was writ large across the catwalk - literally, by way of a projection of tarnished girders across the vast show space in the Via Bergognone, and of course on the clothes themselves. Cue steel-grey, pewter, brick-red and rust, plenty of zips, and weatherbeaten brutalist detailing. Armani loves a good theme.
The big news for Armani this season, however, was length - while others opted to pump out the volume in the torso, the Emporio boys were lean, with elongated single-breasted coats skimming mid-calf. It felt a little thirties at times, even sliding into Edwardian - this was Armani doing 'Industrial', and maybe he was thinking about those topcoated gentleman during the Industrial Revolution. In dove grey tossed over a camel suit and matching gloves, the attenuated line had an air of Giovanni Boldini's portrait of Comte Robert de Montesquiou (there's a reference you don't hear everyday). It popped up a few times, the final four - in inky-black paired with matching monochrome suits - making the models look a little like junior directors of an undertaker's on a uncomfortable first pall-bearing. No matter, it was still winning.
Of course, with Armani the suiting is always the easy part - Giorgio literally invented modern men's tailoring back in the seventies, let's never forget that. But Emporio skews younger and at a lower price than his mainline, and hence Mr Armani oh-so-often tries to get a touch of the street into his creations. This time, that came from skew-whiff asymmetric leather jackets with a touch of the Rick Owens to them, alongside trailing knits and a few weatherbeaten sheepskins. If it doesn't sound very Armani, it wasn't - both in theme, and in the fact that his hand got lost in some overcomplicated construction. Add to this the murky colour-palette - that metallic palette combined with grimy greige and muddy brown - and it all got a bit confusing. Luckily it only diluted the strong message of the tailoring rather than obscuring it completely.