MILAN, Italy — Travel has been a theme over menswear's long weekend in Milan, so it was appropriate that Giorgio Armani, the closing act, sealed the subtext with a collection he called Crossing Borders. That activity has been fraught with peril for hundreds of thousands of people in recent years. While it seems unlikely Armani was acknowledging their situation, there was a perverse synchronicity in the fact that he showed clothes whose worn-out fabrics, washed-out colours and slightly Chaplinesque proportions — shrunken jackets, baggy pants — suggested men always having to move, hobo bag in hand, making the most of what little they've got. A kind of fashion Arte Povera, in other words (or as Povera as the odd flash of croc would allow).
And it was really rather beautiful. There was a lightness, an airiness, a kind of sun-drunk carelessness that was sensual, and seductive with it. Even the leathers were washed till they had the worn crinkle of old linen. A mosaic pattern was repeated throughout the collection. It added to the impression that we were somewhere hot, dry, off the beaten track. Armani has always fared surprisingly well in such environments. Reachable only by boat? You might safely assume they're the places that are closest to his heart.