Saturday 27th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Giorgio Armani: Ready-to-wear AW21

The Giorgio Armani co-ed show started with a close-up of a statue of a gorilla. Was the great designer drawing a parallel between his way of working and evolution in the animal kingdom, where species adapt slowly, over time to enhance survival and the passing on of their genes to a new generation? Talking about his men’s and women’s collections he referred to the “Perpetual evolution” of his style and how for AW21, “I deepened and broadened my reflection on my aesthetic codes.”

He came up with a desirable wardrobe, fit for how we live now. For women that meant “soft precision.” Ruffles, like ocean waves, were a recurring motif for a collection that drew inspiration from the colours of the sea and the natural world. Armani proposed an easy, languid elegance with long, liquid silhouettes. Jackets had raglan sleeves that defined the waist without looking nipped in and roomy coats came in what Armani described as ‘comfortable volumes.’

Soft velvet became a daywear option and for night, beautifully beaded pieces expressed the overall sense of ease. “Giorgio is austere, with some romantic notes. Paired with flat shoes, which are my signature touch,” he said of the collection. For men, Armani has taken trends out of the equation, and focused on the thought process of getting dressed – answering questions of practicality, need and desire. The designer referenced the iconic scene in American Gigolo when Richard Gere scans his wardrobe and decides what to wear.

That scene, immortalised on the silver screen, was the moment when the Armani brand became a global obsession. But this was not a retro throwback. Armani remains focused on the needs of today. Stuffy formality belongs to another era. Now men want jackets cut with the softness of a shirt, enveloping coats and snug geometric knits. Even the evening jackets were optional – a beautifully cut velvet shirt is dressy enough. Mr Armani has spoken.

Photography courtesy of Giorgio Armani.