MILAN: Milan Men’s Fashion Week ends on Tuesday, after Giorgio Armani’s first live show since the coronavirus opened the door to a return to normality for the industry.
“Back to where it all began” was the name chosen by Armani, 86, for his latest men’s collection presented Monday night to a live audience.
It was an apt description for the industry hoping to see an end to a punitive period of dismal sales and audienceless programming caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Combining fluidity of movement and extreme elegance, the Men’s Spring / Summer 2022 collection was presented in the courtyard of Armani’s headquarters in Milan, near the city’s fashion district, with models – with and without masks – making their way on a track past the manicured lawn.
Bold floral graphics in light knits or trousers adorned with black and white, the jackets were relaxed and roomy, while the Bermuda shorts – some in indigo blue, gray and red tribal prints – were paired with vests or jackets.
“My new collection reflects my post-pandemic state of mind. It’s very classic in a way, but also informal and laid back,” Armani told reporters after the show.
“And of course, I wanted the collection to carry my trademark, a certain effortless elegance,” he added.
The Italian luxury house was the first to announce the live audience return in May this year, having been the first to drop it in February 2020, at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Fashion experts described the live shows as an important sign of recovery for the Italian fashion industry, whose revenues fell 26% last year. Pre-pandemic sales levels are not expected to be back until 2022.
– Prada at the beach –
Armani has dusted off the traditional costume, but appears relaxed and unencumbered – unsurprisingly, given the movement constraints felt over the past year.
The deconstructed, unlined jacket, emblem of the brand since its creation in 1975, was also in the spotlight, sometimes sporty, sometimes more dandy.
Armani was the last of three fashion heavyweights to put on live shows in Milan, following Dolce & Gabbana’s show on Saturday at the Metropol, a former cinema that became the brand’s headquarters, and Etro’s show on Sunday, who transformed the old railway line into a footbridge.
The majority of brands, including Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna, however offered presentations filmed for fashion week.
Prada, shown on Sunday, saw models exit a claustrophobic red tunnel to emerge on a sunny Sardinian beach.
“To immerse yourself in nature, to go to the beach, it is synonymous with freedom. It is utopian. It’s really a primary need, but it’s also an intellectual need, ”said designer Miuccia Prada.
With co-creative director Raf Simons, Prada brought back short shorts for men, loose or close to the body, often rolled up, and paired with blazers, colorful tank tops, leather jackets or classic waxed raincoats.