MILAN, Italy — The New Pop that Giorgio Armani named his Emporio collection for looked more like the Power Pop that came bouncing in at the end of New Wave in the 1980s. Synthetic colours, geometric shapes, short shiny skirts and striped mohair tops all harked back to a brief moment when the disillusioned twilight of punk was lightened by the upbeat optimism of a new kind of pop. Well, there it is after all. New Pop.
The details were pop-perfect: hair was slicked or tightly chignon-ed, eyelashes were mascara-ed with colour. Black was the basic canvas, on which were imposed circles, squares and triangles of red, yellow and blue. The patterns of a jacquard suggested the blocky geometries of the earliest video games. Like them, power pop in the olden days was kid’s stuff. This being an Armani collection, however, there was a level of dressiness that was distinctly adult. Maybe even more so than usual.
Emporio usually has a functional edge, but a lot of the clothes here felt like party clothes. The other day in London, J.W. Anderson professed a fascination with the codes of dressing for cocktails. Though the very notion seemed almost too arcane to contemplate in this day and age, it was easy to surrender to the idea that Armani had been thinking the same thoughts. The plush textures of velvet, mohair and fur, the sparkle of lurex, the flash of sequins all pointed toward a paaaaarty, not a wild one, mind, but nevertheless something that did not, as the shownotes hopefully proposed, “speak of Armani’s whole history.” In fact, the picture painted by the collection was distinctly limited.