Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
#SuzyMFW Armani: Charm By Any Other Name
Giorgio Armani's captivating show based on blue and feminine gentility was in dramatic contrast with the designer's exploration of sporty bodies
27 Сентября 2016
“Charm," said Giorgio Armani, in three different languages — English, French and Italian — as he showed me a line-up of young women who were dressed almost entirely in shades of blue.
There were soft floral jackets and long floaty dresses, fringes swinging from neutral coloured tops over watery shades, and patterned sleevelets decorating bare arms.
"The idea of charming is a certain femininity — which I interpret as little things," the designer explained.
Armani was singing the blues, not in any mournful way, but rather as playful versions of what he does, with deep blue at skirt hems and even shorts; the darker rising to a paler shade on tailored jackets.
They were in summer style, but distinctly shaped, whether squares or quilted, body hugging or loose.
The designer used a cluster of words, offered in pairs, to define summer 2017: "elegance and sensuality", "magic and femininity", "discipline and freedom", "ethnic and sexy".
But the Armani vision was based on a definite — and I would suggest early — vision of female freedom, when unveiling legs or covering them up seemed a radical statement about sensuality.
What I found missing from the pretty and appealingly feminine collection was that it turned its pretty, curvy, floaty back on sport. These were ladylike, rather than action, styles.
With each picture, video and even a sculpture of a gymnast by the designer, the body is the pivotal point, even when the original purpose was to promote Armani the brand. For example David Beckham was photographed for an advertising campaign by Mert and Marcus in 2008, with other underwear ads from the same duo of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2010 and Rafael Nadal in 2011.
The show is a homage to the power and beauty of the male physique, with a few female athletes including Serena Williams.
I asked Armani if he had been a sports fiend as a child.
“Sport was not something offered in school education. So I was not very sporty, but afterwards I started exercising. Today's women and men are more healthy — not only because of physical aesthetics, but also for health reasons.”