MILAN, Italy — There were big changes this season at Armani. Emporio was shown in the usual venue, with a new set up. The mainline Giorgio, instead, was presented in the charming premises of Palazzo Orsini, at number 11 of the tony Via Borgonuovo, where the Armani headquarters have been based since 1996. The homecoming was a smart move: getting to see the clothes up close under the porches on the courtyard, in natural daylight, made the whole experience of attending the show a pleasurable thing.
Back home to where it all begins, season after season. Armani dished out the usual Giorgio Armani fare in soft tailoring, deconstruction and gentle masculinity, but the ease of the whole endeavour was particularly palpable. There was a lot of spontaneity in the mix of geometric patterns, in the layering of Nehru jackets and waistcoats, in the flowing of printed shirts worn with liquid trousers. In a press meeting before the show, Mr. Armani addressed the will to make his man sexier than he was in the past. Oh well, sexy is not exactly an Armani adjective, and the multiculti spirituality of the collection could hardly be labelled as such, despite the cast of beefcakes, some wearing jackets or vests bare-chested. Yet, there was certainly a sensuality to the whole, a quest for something as far from stiff as it possibly gets. In short, pure, undiluted Armani, welcomed with a standing ovation at the end.