There was a sense of perfection about the whole Giorgio Armani menswear show staged Monday morning, climaxing a White Lotus season in Milan, with a star of the series in the front row.
In a brilliant display, Armani put on a master class of classy tailoring, subtle silhouettes and modernist elegance, that won him a standing ovation. Beaming with an enormous smile, he enjoyed 30 seconds of applause before gently drifting back into the backstage.
The show was staged inside its historic central Milan headquarters, a noble palazzo at 31, Via Borgonuovo, done up like a classy hotel lobby with marble floors and an alabaster backdrop. Presented in two shows before a hyper select audience of just 300 people, the clothes had all the Italian glam one associates with the hit TV show.
“Remarkable, beautiful clothes,” enthused White Lotus star Theo James, sitting front row with his Irish actress wife Ruth Kearny.
Joining them in the front row, Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick; fellow thesps James Norton, Miguel Angel Silvestre and Raul Bravo; dancer Hugo Marchand; singer Gianni Morandi and rapper Kano Robinson.
All got to witness a first-rate collection by Armani, who keeps on breaking new ground despite his venerability. He will be 89 next July.
Ever imaginative, Giorgio even created several new suits. The first, a deconstructed single-breasted mini jacket worn with pleated jogging pants looked ideal for a jaunt around a five-star grand hotel in Sicily. Made in mottled houndstooth, or magnificently in crinkled Pacific blue silk they all looked stunning.
Or a second suit composed of a matinee idol double-breasted jacket with billowing trousers, or cargo pants nipped at the ankle – always worn over Chelsea boots in faux alligator, snakeskin or mixes of suede and leather.
Along with some soft classicism for which Armani’s tailoring will always be noted, like the ideally draped five button coats in slate or putty. Real men do wear leopard coats at Armani, again in faux fur, and finished with a hoodie.
Giorgio threw in a series of Armani Neve snow gear and après ski looks, a month after he invited a gang of editors to St Moritz to fete this line. A weekend, which ended with the guests dancing on tables.
A contrast with this show’s finale, where five couples appeared – the gents in soft-shouldered black tie, the ladies in beaded and crystal slinky gowns. Everything backed up by an elegiac soundtrack, including I Giorni by Luigi Einaudi, the preferred composer of Italian designers.
To end, Giorgio made an appearance, lean, tanned, his eyes twinkling – attired in slate grey loose pants and T-shirt and a black velvet jacket over white sneakers. The whole audience on their feet cheering.
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