It would be impossible to go to an Emporio Armani fashion show with a clear idea of what to expect. However, equally the brand has an unmistakable style, and this has been true for over two decades. One wonders whether its absolute recognizability is due to the fact that it has maintained certain fundamental features over the years. Without doubt, the spring-summer 2011 collection is exceptional in two ways: extreme simplicity, and the careful treatment of accessories.
As usual, the show took place at the Armani Theatre, converted from a factory in the Via Tortona area of Milan. Even before seeing the collection, it was immediately obvious that we were in a location of great class and sophistication.
Armani uses a very long runway, and, in another Armani tradition, the models walk in one direction, never turning back. In other words, if you miss a detail, you've lost it, there's no second chance. This means that it's impossible to tear your eyes away from what is going on, and this is reinforced by the beauty of Armani's creations.
The garments are all visually light. Jackets are reminiscent of silk scarves, flowing in the air as they follow the movements of the body. Skirts are very short, and extend downwards in a semi-transparent veil that accompanies the legs down to the knees, giving the silhouette a satisfying visual balance.
Overall, this is a fresh and young collection that liberates the woman from the straitjacket of austerity, bringing her back to the sparkling, daring days of Art Deco.
Evening garments are likewise far removed from hierarchic categories, as if they were sports clothing. They are lightly tapering, and precisely cut on the body, with slim shoulders and a straight collar that adds an ironic note.
The real touch of class, one of the "unique selling points" of this collection, is the way in which accessories are used, their shapes, and their colour combinations. There are bags in various sizes, some very small and cubic for gala evenings in which the contents have to be reduced as far as possible, and others very large in order to provide enough room for a woman's complex world. The details in wood, including the triangular handle, are absolutely superb. Shoes are all high heels, with tapering heels. A particularly original detail comprises a sort of double heel, forming a pointed elliptical aperture. Other shoes had wedgy type soles running from heel to toe, while others had a very low sole under the toes, and these greatly enhanced the overall effect of style and delicacy.
The colours for Emporio Armani's SS 2011 season range from neutral shades, quartz grey, sand beige, butter, and light ash grey with black details, to brighter colours such as watermelon red, aqua blue, and shimmering green for touches of drama.
How does one complete a performance like this? By offering a lovely gift pack with new Armani Dolci chocolates and pralines.
Giorgio Armani has succeeded in creating a name that for many years has provided a guarantee of Italian fashion quality all over the world. His unmistakable style consists of the fact that he is capable of making even the smallest detail a surprise and a source of innovation.
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