Giorgio Armani used to be the man that set all the trends – let’s not forget it was he who completely redefined tailoring with his relaxed grey suits in the late seventies and early eighties. But for Autumn/Winter 2013 he was feeling more deferential. At his Emporio Armani show he chose to follow the current most popular trends, rather than suggest any fresh ones of his own. There were the super tight, cropped legging-like trousers we’ve been seeing everywhere for the past few seasons and the popular oversized outerwear, in Armani’s case coats crafted in a stiff neoprene membrane fabric and chunky knits in a thick yarn.
The press release hinted that Armani was keen to get into a more current, relevant groove. It spoke of ‘a new era’, where ‘new attitudes and perspectives mark a different way of dressing.’ Armani classics like the caban, the turtleneck and the tuxedo jacket were given a modern spin with the new, slim silhouette. At one point a model even strode onto the runway with his ultra-tight jogger trousers pulled so low his boxer waistband was clearly visible, suggesting that Armani had been looking to the street for inspiration. He had also teamed his looks with slouchy backpacks that – aside from the fact that several came in luxury sheepskin fur – could have been plucked from ordinary men on the pavement.
Perhaps Armani had cast his eyes across the sea to what’s been going on in our native London and is trying to get in on the buzz. Indeed, the collection’s title, ‘Urban Tech’ could have been a reference to the work of any number of our popular young menswear designers who have built their name on crafting technically advanced sportswear. But underneath the cool, young glaze, the ethos of the collection was, to borrow his favourite phrase, ‘pure Armani’. Despite the updated silhouettes and casual accessories, his signature polish rendered sportswear into something much more icy and controlled than we’ve seen before.