The punk spirit that has grasped Milan – see Fendi’s fur mohawks and Versace’s vampy ‘Vunk’ – had even caught Mr Armani’s fancy for Autumn/Winter 2013. Today’s Giorgio Armani show had a distinctly dark tone, from that largely black colour palette to those glistening onyx buckles and buttons that decorated each look. The nod to youth culture was most obvious in the final touches, whether those chunky chains that hung from models hips replicating the hardware favoured by rockers or those skinny slithery scarves.
While the surface may have been a firm contrast to the prim pastels on show at Emporio Armani, the silhouette was distinctly familiar. ‘Garconne’ was the collection’s title and - as was to be expected given Armani’s history - there was plenty of androgyny on show. So there were those favourite flat shoes, even teamed with the evening wear, and there was that voluminous tailoring comprised of jackets, louche trouser and Bermuda shorts. Still, who am I to quibble, Armani’s signature clear lines are what his customer wants, so why mess with the foundations when you can simply tweak the finishes to create something new and fresh?
That said, there was a strange familiarity to some of the looks on show. Those monochrome sculptured ruffles in particular nodded to a certain Mr Ghesquière. But then again, it seems that today a collection wouldn’t be good if it didn’t ape that period of Balenicaga’s history a little bit. And given that the rest of the fashion world has been ripping off Mr Armani for years, one can forgive this nod to the zeitgeist.
Just as with the Emporio show, it was hard to pinpoint an exact starting point – at moments models could have been halfway through a costume change between Oliver Twist and The Great Gatsby. Still, the eccentricity of this collection was refreshing. That final look, a shining spherical hat and sparkling evening gown with intricate strap details that left the model nearly topless while also encasing her torso proves that Mr Armani can still wow us when he wants to.