Milan Fashion Week: Armani, Diesel

Giorgio Armani went back to black on Friday, unveiling an Emporio Armani collection for next Fall and Winter that transported the spirit of 1980s power dressing into the digital age.

Big-shouldered suit jackets anyone There will be plenty available in Emporio outlets, but not before the end of this summer.

Giorgio is no fan of the “see now, buy now” trend that is pushing some of his rivals, most notably Tom Ford, towards making their seasonal collections available to buy as soon as the last model has stepped off the catwalk.

Having gone off on a colour-rich tangent with his Spring/Summer collections at both Emporio and his main Giorgio Armani line, the veteran designer returned here to what his collection notes termed “his signature blend of masculine and feminine.”

But there was nothing remotely androgynous about it. The 21st Century Emporio woman, it would seem, does not need to mimic male power dressing quite so closely as was the 80s norm.

There were trousers (cut slim) to be seen, but more often office-ready jackets were twinned with short jumpsuits or mini-but-not-micro skirts and enhanced by leg-lengthening heels.

The predominately black base colour extended into evening wear but there was space in that section of the set for plenty of sparkle, with bold geometric shapes intended to spell out the message that this was a collection for “high-tech heroines” in search of “classical style and digital designs.”

Armani presents his main collection on Monday, the closing day of the Milan shows. Although the Emporio line is designed for a younger mrket, it often provides pointers to the signature line’s direction.

– Diesel strikes Black Gold –

Emporio Armani’s mix of restrained office and evening wear was preceded by an entirely different kettle of fish thanks to posh jeans manufacturer Diesel’s decision to bring its Black Gold womenswear line back to Milan eight years after it decamped to New York in a bid to crack the US market.

Creative director Andreas Melbostad made his pitch for the upper end of the youth and still-young-in-spirit market with a mix of chunky fisherman’s sweaters and mini-kilts alongside pilot jackets, military-style great coats and boots that appeared to have drawn inspiration from the humble Wellington.

The extensive use of luxurious and high-tech fabrics and detailed embroidery was perhaps a clue to the rationale for the return to Milan.

To justify high-fashion prices for its top end line, Diesel may have calculated that being more closely associated with the “Made in Italy” brand makes sense as it seeks to reach a new, even cooler market than the one that has driven its expansion to date.

The company’s Black Gold menswear line was brought back to Milan in 2012.

Whatever the reasons, the homecoming has delighted Milan’s fashion week bosses, who have spent several years fighting a perception that Italy’s fashion capital has got stuck in a rut.

“It will help give the week a new impetus because Diesel Black Gold is a ‘cool’ label and an expression of something fresh in Italian fashion,” Carlo Capasa, the chair of the Italian chamber of fashion, recently told Italian media.

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