Giorgio Armani S/S 2016

Italy's master tailor has spoken

Giorgio Armani took his bow with one of those light bronze tans that only Italians know how to achieve. The result of a recent trip to his vacation home in St. Tropez, which seemed the natural setting for his spring signature collection.

Armani’s waistcoast under elegant summer suiting  Giorgio Armani
Armani’s waistcoast under elegant summer suiting

His palette of dusky blues, gentle dawn roses and dry sand evoked that Mediterranean playground; the show’s extremely laid back atmosphere conjured up the French resort’s spiffy sense of style. Not one tie on the runway, but a good dozen new sunglasses in a faux horn that all looked great for seaside cruisin’ and harked back to the 80’s.

Beautiful summer knit jacket  Giorgio Armani
Beautiful summer knit jacket

The Italian designer remains menswear’s single most influential tailor – and this season he came up with a fresh trick; a cross over waistcoat with hidden buttons. This he paired with soft plaid linen jackets; knitted double-breasted Beckham jackets; and blazers in a nylon so light it looked spun by a spider. Like half the shows in Milan this season, Armani sent out a bunch of women’s look – few better than one delightful powder blue coat dress, ideal for any scene diva.

Pants fall easily and Giorgio’s summer knits show his colorist skills  Giorgio Armani
Pants fall easily and Giorgio’s summer knits show his colorist skills

And just when it was all looking a tad too soft, he vowed with a surgically cut chauffeur’s jacket so precise its silhouette it could have been a product of 3D printing.

Pre-show, a visiting Robert de Niro and his wife Grace Hightower enjoyed coffee in the designer’s backstage café; post show they toured his must-see Armani Silos exhibition space. “Fortunately, I started wearing Armani in the late 80’s and I have never looked back,” smiled de Niro.

The Emporio bike injected a puzzling sporty mood to an otherwise élégant collection  Giorgio Armani
The Emporio bike injected a puzzling sporty mood to an otherwise élégant collection

Rather eccentrically, Armani also sent out a model with a new bicycle with enormous tires. It looked great – but carried an Emporio logo, and hence very out of place on a signature collection catwalk.

Armani also indulged in one of his favorite past-times – fashion media bashing. Quoting Immanuel Kant in his show notes, Armani snarled: “Signature fashion expresses the mindset of a free spirit that rejects all fake rules set by media consensus.” Really, Giorgio, we’re the ones trying to make the rules, not you?

Ultimately, this was an Armani collection a couple of points of his A Game. Still, this show had many, many clothes of distinction and modernist grace. But please Giorgio, spare us the verbal lashings?