Does fashion make the people come together? For a business knocked for its supposed elitism, it’s a bold question. But in a season when brands have largely had to rely on livestreams, Giorgio Armani opened his arms to the public a little bit wider. The designer and national treasure chose to broadcast his main-line show on the Italian TV network La7 as a gesture—no doubt—of rebooting an industry bruised by the pandemic.
Armani was the first designer to cancel attendance for a fashion show when COVID-19 hit Milan in February 2020. “I suspect, as someone who has lived a life and had a great deal of experience, I have probably developed a sense of when things are genuinely serious and need a response,” the 86-year-old wrote in an email before this evening’s broadcast, which opened with a short film narrated by Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, revisiting Armani’s all-time most “timeless” moments.
The designer spent lockdown observing a typically regimented daily routine, which he detailed in his email. “I continued to wake up early, do some exercise, have breakfast, read the papers, and then I’d go through some emails,” went just a couple of lines from the complete account, too brilliantly extensive to publish in full. But this was his point: Armani is too much of a veteran to let a pandemic faze him. He has lived through war and built an empire that he is not about to abandon.
This season he gathered the Italian public and his international audiences around something to which they can all relate: Giorgio Armani—the longest-working designer in fashion—and the women and men who wear him. Expressing a message of timelessness central to a moment in which ideas about investment pieces and style consistency are key, Armani exercised a grayscale tone-on-tone approach to dressing, which felt universal—like a canvas for application.
“She is still concerned with looking good and feeling comfortable and confident,” Armani wrote of his post-lockdown woman. “And if anything, her desire for beauty has been sharpened by the experience of having so much beauty denied to her through having her movement and activities limited. Giorgio Armani has never been about dressing up (or down for that matter) in any conventional sense. Instead it has been, and remains, all about creating a timeless elegance that brings out the character of the wearer. That has not changed.”
On the women’s as well as the men’s side, daywear was soft, casual, crinkled: democratic tailoring, if you will. Voluminous shapes were adorned in chilly coral-like surface decoration, sumptuous and muted all at once. Slouchy pajama-like silhouettes evoked the comfort-wear adopted from quarantine. For evening, suits were sharpened and sculpted. Languid dresses looked mercurial, an effect echoed in outfits of separates in textures silky, shiny, and shimmery. It was style over fashion. And maybe it was all the silk and slo-mo, but it was somehow incredibly zen.
Now, Armani wrote, “I simply and sincerely hope that we will learn from this experience and that we will use it as an opportunity to rethink and reset. Where the industry is concerned, in my opinion, we have been due for a reckoning for a while now. Concerns like waste, the environment, too much product of poor quality, a marketing-driven approach that can lead to a disconnection with what the consumer really wants…” he paused. “I hope that fashion will now review its priorities, learning from this experience.”
Credits - https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/giorgio-armani