Monday 25th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Giorgio Armani: Ready-To-Wear AW19

The great Italian designer Armani has been in the mood to change things up of late. Last season he held an epic and entertaining Emporio Armani show in the vast “Armani” hangar at Linate airport and rounded it off with a Robbie Williams concert. This season it was the turn of his signature Giorgio Armani line to shift format, with its first ever co-ed show, held in the designer’s vast exhibition space, the Armani Silos. A shiny Perspex catwalk snaked like an inky line through its cool, concrete galleries – a reminder that this designer doesn’t just create clothes. He has built an Armani universe. It’s impeccable codes – strength, elegance and modernity – are clear whether you’re staying in an Armani hotel, applying an Armani lipstick or pulling on an Armani suit. This collection encapsulated that Armani world view.

Called “Rhapsody in Blue”, both the men’s and women’s collections were (almost entirely) dedicated to Armani’s favourite colour and followed his clean, architectural lines. For women, Armani proposed lean, elongated silhouettes built around jodhpur-cut trousers and short jackets. For men, the suit dominated – double breasted and in steely shades. For evening, Armani covered bustiers with swirling rosettes and swirling crystal embroideries created a playful, lyrical mood. The men projected classic elegance in an array of tuxedo looks.  Seeing both men’s and women’s together in one show brought a new kind of clarity. Overall the 106 looks in the show, the consistency in approach are remarkable. Armani’s dedication to sophisticated ease never wavers. In the end, the designer did a heartfelt lap of honour. After the loss of Karl Lagerfeld, here was Mr Armani – still vital, still working, still pushing forward. At that moment, he appeared even more unique.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd Evans.