From Milan to London and Back:
Five Great Things Giorgio Armani Has Done this Year

Giorgio Armani is by all accounts one of the most pro-active octogenarians the world has ever known. As the sole owner of his billion dollar empire, the 83-year-old still has a hands-on approach when it comes to his business – and he has new ventures brewing all the time. The designer chose London for the first time in 11 years to showcase his SS18 ready-to-wear Emporio Armani show –a choice guided by the opening of Bond’s Street new Emporio Armani store which launched this month. As for the looks that glided down the catwalk, they were breezy and could even – quite unusually for Armani – be described as ‘fun’, inspired by sportswear but cast in a palette of delicate pastels and gossamer white.

Emporio Armani in London

Giorgio Armani in London

Giorgio Armani in London
Details from Emporio Armani SS18 Images @emporioarmani Instagram

There were crab/nautical prints that compounded a sense of boyish mischievousness all the while adhering to Mr. Armani’s softness and simplicity of form. In terms of suiting, the lines were also looser, but only a touch. Instead the fabrics were left to guide the theme: bright micro checks, harlequin-style tartans and rainbow pinstripes all pointing to a more youthful and whimsical direction for the label.

Giorgio Armani in Milan

For the Spring Summer 2018 Milan Fashion Week runway, Mr Armani remained faithful to his minimalist aesthetic although there were flourishes of colour in the form of accessories and pastel silks with Deco-like designs. Micro bobs on models reinforced this reconfigured ‘Jazz Age’ narrative.

giogio armani in london

Elegance, effortless style and beautiful fabrics at the Armani Spring Summer 2018 collection

Giorgio Armani in London

Giorgio Armani in London

Giorgio Armani in London
SS18 Giorgio Armani All images @giorgioarmani instagram


Five Great Things Giorgio Armani Did This Year 

1. Casting Shawn Mendes as the face of the new Emporio Armani smartwatch 

In line with his understated aesthetic, the new Emporio Armani smartwatch is positively panther-like: sleek, black and stealthy. As it’s ‘connected’ it does all the expected wonder jobs: notifications, activity tracking, voice controls via Google Assistant and music controls. The designer wisely chose Canadian singer Shawn Mendes as its ambassador: wholesome, bright and most likely to look even more handsome in five years time. Projection and investment is everything at Armani.

2. He launched Armani/Laboratorio

It stands to reason that cinema and Giorgio Armani go hand in hand: a love affair that began when the designer kitted out Richard Gere in machismo elegance for American Gigolo in 1980. There were many more seminal celluloid moments: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert De Niro in The Untouchables, Ethan Hawke in underrated sci-fi adventure Gattaca, Christian Bale in The Dark Knight and Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds. Red carpet leading ladies – Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett being favourite muses – always dazzle in his ‘less is more’ gowns. In light of his love of cinematography and character defining costumes, Armani set up a workshop for young filmmaking students to learn practical skills at his Armani Teatro space in Milan. Mentored by leading lights in the industry including director Giuseppe Tornatore, the free course comprises 8 training modules and will opens in January 2018. This debut workshop will see students make a short movie.

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3. Xuzhi Chen at the Teatro Armani 

Every year Giorgio Armani lends his catwalk/cultural space, the Teatro Armani, to a young designer as a way of supporting young talent. In February it was the turn of Chinese designer Xuzhi Chen, who was nominated for the H&M Design Awards in 2015 and the LVMH Prize last year. He’s noted for his subtle fabrics and artisan-like approach to details such as fraying, embroidery and hand braiding. Previous designers who have benefited from the Armani catwalk load include Vivetta, Andrea Pompilio, Au Jour Le Jour and Miaoran.

4. rEArranged 

Yes you read that right – the capital letters say it loud and proud: Giorgio Armani has just relaunched the Emporio Armani magazine after a 20 year break. He’s also appointed himself – as is his wont – as editor-in-chief. Here’s a video to explain this new venture. Copies available to buy in worldwide stores.

5. Armani Automat Radio

Armani’s radio ‘truck’ is now set to be regular feature at Milan Fashion Weeks (men’s and women’s). It made its first appearance earlier in 2017 and was spotted this week (for SS18 women’s) in Milan’s Via Croce Rossa stop. So far man (a resident DJ) and van have travelled to Barcelona, Turin, and Rome. You can also listen online here