ARMANI COLLEZIONI MEN'S COLLECTION Spring/Summer 2009
Old worlds changed into new ones – restyled and transformed by distant civilisations – new costumes mirroring powerful lifestyles, and cultural trends conveyed from the ends of the earth, making those that were once conquerors, the conquered. The ‘New Colonialism’, which in the late 1800s led Europeans to plant their flags in Asia and Africa, produced a unique fusion of taste. The memories linger – Orientalism today widely enhances the Western frame of reference with colours, fabrics, apparel and traditional elements of an East that we perceive in broad brushstrokes.
Exotic otherness becomes the here and now. This, the collection’s main theme, is played out through the use of natural shades ranging from ivory to eggshell, and the many hues of beige and earth brown, blended with feathery touches of sage green. Greys artfully merge into new colours, revealing traces of purple, mauve and periwinkle-blue. White harmonises with brilliant blues and azures. Ruby red, electric blue and lime green contrast with lead grey to recall the intense atmosphere of India.
Light, natural, aerated fabrics suit the collection’s spirit – linen blends with cotton, viscose, silk and polyamide. Dynamic modern fabrics prevail in formal garments: viscose-cotton, viscose-microfibre, microfibre and cotton grisaille, as well as pure linen, linen-silk and linen-viscose. Natural fabrics are the choice for sportswear. They are strengthened by innovative processes to ensure water resistance (see the smeared gabardine, ramie, and linen smeared to create a mother of pearl effect). There is a highly practical double- breasted trench coat, a safari guru jacket, and a ramie and polyurethane sports jacket with interplaying zips on the collar. The demand for sportswear is met by a sophisticated Active Gym line developed in three colours – red, white and blue – with contrasting inserts, constructed from breathable, waterproof, high tech materials.
Leatherwear includes ultra-light napa leather processed with pure aniline. There are prints with minute open work that enhances their lightness and recalls linen gauze. Leather apparel is lined with cool linen. Special manufacturing methods marked by contrasting stitches and linen finishes on the inside ensure the refined appeal of the timeless biker jacket and blazer.
A warm Indian breeze blows on virtually intangible crushed gauze, chequered shantung and Madras silk jackets designed to recall the colonial East, worn bear breasted over multiple layers of froissé linen shawls. Blazers can fulfil the function of a shirt, and yet fashionable shirts are themselves arguably the stars of this collection – manufactured in pure linen with braid inserts, in ultra-light natural fabrics, with contrasting collar and cuffs (to match Bermuda shorts and gauzy linen shawls), and in azulejios-like floral prints on bright linen-silk. By contrast, the decidedly small collar is the key feature of classical shirts. Always without lining, the suit can accommodate an alternative to the traditional shirt and tie, which are here replaced by a bright guru shirt that matches the pocket-handkerchief.
The longing for summer and lightness dominates this collection. There are long casing pants and casual iridescent linen shorts.
The offer is completed by a wide selection of pants enhanced by special details – metal buckles inserted on the belt, for example – and shapes. Meanwhile, ultra-light linen or linen-silk knitwear displays macro and micro stripes and contrasting details. And finally, the original, refined shantung silk evening jacket is enlivened by contrasting inserts on the lapels and matching ivory shantung shirt with guru collar and austere black linen-viscose pants designed with lateral rat-tail piping.