The exoticist that lurks in Giorgio Armani’s bosom doesn’t get enough exercise. Several decades ago, he offered a samurai-influenced collection that gonged memorably amid the greige that was making his name. With his latest men’s offering, Armani could almost have been channeling Yul Brynner in The King and I. The most powerful impression the collection left was the sheen of silk shantung in intense oriental shades of lilac, cyclamen, orange, and imperial purple. It was cut into what looked like cropped dhoti pants, the uniform of Giorgio’s model posse in the finale. They dropped into yoga poses and turned as one to face the sun king, Armani himself.
Metaphor? Well, there were plenty of other impressions. From the get-go, Armani was keen to de-emphasize structure. Pants were drawstrung, jackets as unconstructed as shirts. The silhouette was softened with scarves draped around the neck or tied round the waist instead of belts. Chenille cardigans and sinuous jacquards defined the torso. Leathers were perforated, washed, or textured in ways so artful they might as well have been paper. An outfit consisting of what might have been a pajama top paired with cropped pants expressed the consummate ease that Adrien Brody was praising backstage. But a jacket in ivory crocodile was a reminder that Armani’s ease is distinctly deluxe.
by tim blanks
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