Giorgio Armani & Emporio Armani A/W’12 Menswear review

by Katie on February 15, 2012

Over the past couple of seasons it’s been impossible to escape the influence of Giorgio Armani over the Milan-based fashion houses, so where does that leave the godfather of unstructured tailoring now that other designers have fled back to the severe formality of the early 20thCentury?
Well, like Italo Zucchelli at Calvin Klein Collection, standing out like a sore thumb, and all the more welcome because of it. Like Zucchelli, Armani is noted for his sparse, minimal lines, a utilitarian aesthetic, and his use of textiles. However Giorgio Armani was pulling this off whilst Zucchelli was still in school.

Working in mostly black, grey, and electric blue, Giorgio Armani’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection contains all of his signature elements. The sharp leathers. The loosely flowing trouser which collects neatly at the ankle, and the neat suiting, conceived in a variety of tone-on-tone checks and herringbones, fussy fabrics which make a bold statement when worn top-to-toe.

Techno Fair Isle designs add some excitement to this inky array, the bright colours seemingly bleeding into each other, and adorn knitwear and suede biker jackets. Velvet appears in various forms, most dramatically as a voluminous parka with leather details.

Over at Emporio the mood is lighter but no less sombre, the minutia of the mainline collection toned down for the high street. There is a slight volume to the lower half, whilst the upper body remains lean, both in silhouette and detail – save some stripes and oversized scarves, and the hats and belts thrown in by the stylist. The overall mood is super-modern, aided by a subtle use of asymmetry and tactility.

These are far from benchmark collections, both in terms of creativity and execution, yet there is little which the established Armani customer will object to. Like many of the Milanese designers, there’s a feeling that Giorgio Armani is merely coasting along, biding his time. Still, managing to remain so relevant on so little wattage is quite a feat. You’ll no doubt be seeing echoes of these collections at both London’s very own Todd Lynn, and Kris Van Asche for Dior Homme, and that’s Armani’s real achievement.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog

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