At 88, Giorgio Armani is one of the last great living fashion designers of his generation. There’s little that he hasn’t already done—from expanding into eyewear and home decor to launching cosmetics and fragrances. And when it comes to the two fashion lines (Giorgio and Emporio Armani) he maintains a personal hand in, the man knows what he likes and sticks to it.
The Autumn/Winter 2022 collection by Emporio Armani is a treatise and thorough exploration of the colour grey. “From the palest to the very densest,” offers the collection notes, “punctuated by touches of bold colour.” Grey. Without any explanation or context, a concept like that certainly sounds drab. But anyone familiar with Mr Armani’s wide-ranging ability with design would have fewer reservations.
Grey seemed to offer the designer a familiar, neutral palette from which to develop. In smooth wool tailoring, for example, dark greys can take on a look of precision and authority. Tweak the fabrication ever so slightly into something with a bit of a tweedy texture, and both colour and effect soften into something perhaps more academic and approachable.
In the 45 men’s looks that walked the runway— designed like a checkerboard—comes a panoply of familiar styles and silhouettes. Armani’s famous deconstructed suit, for example, with its loose shape and swishy movements, cut from wools, velvets and jacquards, and paired with jewel-tone shirts. There are also Armani’s Eastern-inspired shapes on loose jackets with sash belts, in fabrics embossed with geometric patterns.
The strongest and widest looks seem to tap on military inspiration. That much is also clear in the accessories: structured bags with lace-up details, and tough-looking boots that have leather panels like armour. The shoes are cut square with high, chunky soles, and the most directional of the offerings is perhaps a pair of high boots worn like military issue.
In a fairly traditional style, the Emporio Armani fashion show was divided into different sections. Daywear to open, segueing into a portion for the company’s sporty EA7 label (ski-inspired this season, with technical bodysuits, puffer vests and outsized transparent backpacks to accessorise with), before closing with an evening section. Eveningwear is where Mr Armani seems to allow himself some indulgence. Here, the looks are anchored by velvet which gives a nocturnal flavour, sequin embroidery on waistcoats for a touch of glamour, and buttery leather trousers cut in an elevated cargo-pants style.
The effect of this collection is that one reconsiders the versatility of a colour as neutral as grey. The trick, however, is that making it so is not an easy task. Selecting and combining both fabrics and textures is what made this collection successful—and the result even borders on dandyish and glamorous.
In fact, the brand dubbed this collection Rhythm of Colour, with the intention of reinterpreting glamour from sparkly razzle-dazzle to proposing a more foundational root of personal charm. The idea may well be that personality and character can take the fore and shine against a backdrop of grey. An idea that could scare lesser designers, but for Armani—who built his name on measured, subtle brilliance—it makes complete sense.
Discover the Emporio Armani Autumn/Winter 2022 collection here.