By Jessica Michault. On the last day of the menswear shows in Milan, designer Giorgio Armani made a bit of a statement with his show notes. Instead of spelling out his inspirations, color palette, and textile choices there was just one line of text inside the Armani folder placed on each seat. The designer produced a line of pieces that at its heart was a celebration of easy elegance. Unstructured, forgiving, and comfortable were the underlying sentiments of the show. Trench coats were cut wide and left uncinched at the waist.
Giorgio Armani Spring Menswear
The exoticist that lurks in Giorgio Armani's bosom doesn't get enough exercise. Several decades ago, he offered a samurai-influenced collection that gonged memorably amid the greige that was making his name. The most powerful impression the collection left was the sheen of silk shantung in intense oriental shades of lilac, cyclamen, orange, and imperial purple. It was cut into what looked like cropped dhoti pants, the uniform of Giorgio's model posse in the finale. They dropped into yoga poses and turned as one to face the sun king, Armani himself. Well, there were plenty of other impressions. From the get-go, Armani was keen to de-emphasize structure.
Giorgio Armani Spring 2009 Menswear
That's not too bold of a claim when it comes from a designer like Giorgio Armani, the man who rethought the modern suit, then put his own sparklingly sinuous stamp on red-carpet wear. His Spring collection had both of those signatures in spades. The show opened with elongated one-button jackets in traditional suiting fabrics. The ones that followed had a similar slight flare below the waist or a ruffle of pleats at the back, but they were made in fluid jerseys and shown with pleated and tapered silk pants, long shorts, or tucked-hem skirts.
In this juxtaposition of styles that brings to the city a relaxed and elegant savoir vivre, the jacket - always reconstructed but perfectly tailored - favors Prince of Wales checks and chalk stripes, fabrics that may seem traditional but actually emphasize the precise structure of the garment. Worn over a double breasted waistcoat, maybe with a loose un-tucked shirt or a light chemise in the oriental manner. Perfectly in tune with the lightest of trousers, varying in style from the Indian, to the Balinese or Malaysian, sometimes with printed patterns, always in generous dimensions.