MILAN, Italy — Before Giorgio Armani was an institution, he was a revolutionary. If readers take one thing away from the spectacular doorstop of an autobiography he released on Monday with Rizzoli, then that would be the thing worth taking.
Before the press conference that launched the book, Armani showed his Spring collection. Red, the colour of revolution, was the running theme, in a whole spectrum of shades, from Chinese to dusty pink. There was nothing unexpected in the clothes themselves. There didn’t need to be. Armani’s revolution was over decades ago. The changes he made are now fully integrated into the way people dress. But it’s a kick to think that the red was maybe a subtle reminder on his part, so that we would look at those soft, unstructured, sinuous jackets and remember how radical they once were.
With time, Armani has grown more comfortable with showing off. The decorative elements of the collection were striking. herringbone, a classic pattern for him, now came crystallised. It may have been a side-effect of the sci-fi garden sprouting in the centre of the catwalk, but the lightness of layers of veiling, the sheer effects of technical organza, the sparkle, the paillettes hinted at a timeless dress code for the future. Which is appropriate given that Armani’s new book is a pretty conclusive ciao to the past.