Emporio Armani S/S 2016

The red bull of fashion is called Giorgio

Despite being older than practically any head of state in European today, Giorgio Armani, at the ripe age of 80, still revels in being a fashion insurrectionary.

Long and élégant silhouette Emporio Armani
Long and élégant silhouette

His is the greatest, 100% personally owned fashion label of the past 100 years, but Giorgio still has the guts to rip up the envelope and take loads of risks with a runway show. Which is what Saturday morning’s Emporio men’s show was all about – a ballsy meeting of natty tailoring, dandy accessories, sporty fabrics, athletic aesthetics and active élan.

The famous non-color palette Emporio Armani
The famous non-color palette

That does not mean it all worked. But Armani’s runway was crammed with winners today. His waxy glove leather blousons; silk pleated dhoti jogging pants; second-skin leather dusters; and high-tech nylon splash tops all were kicky, cool and visually fresh.

The look was patrician, yet with just the right dose of street cred’ – like one fabulous combo of putty gray biker jackets and pajama pants that was the epitome of sexy insouciance.

Cool cut-out coat Emporio Armani
Cool cut-out coat

The octogenarian Armani was enamored by paisley this season – though articulated in his famed non-color palette. Forget about Indian psychedelic; instead gray on slate silk jerkins or myrtle green cutout leather jackets. He named the collection “fusion,” though it equally well could have been called featherweight – given the levity of the materials.

Black and white contrasting at its best Emporio Armani
Black and white contrasting at its best

Inevitably, Armani tried out so many experiments several failed. Quite why boys in jogging pants wore knit waistcoats over technical shirts was never very clear, nor indeed did one understand all the nostalgic berets.

Beautiful leather blouson and wide pants Emporio Armani
Beautiful leather blouson and wide pants

However, one exited this show with an overriding sense of a designer not resting  on his laurels; a rower whose oars have never been shipped. A sense heightened by a regiment of new Vespas 946, the Piaggio scooter placed in a line between Tadao Ando’s cement columns in the entrance to Armani’s headquarters. Austere in black, with ergonomic helmets and mini Emporio logos, they were ideal modernist mounts for the cast of this truly laudable fashion moment.

If only, one tenth of the politicians in today’s Europe had half or Giorgio’s energy and permanent dedication to excellence.