For the Fall 2021 season—the first real season where designers are tasked with predicting what our style will look like post-pandemic—collections tend to fall into one of two camps. The first presents clothes rooted in wearability—riffs on simple wardrobe classics that cater to women still working from home. The second leans toward the fantastical, presenting optimistic clothes for a future in which impractical, unapologetically fabulous clothes are all the rage.
Giorgio Armani—both an optimistic and a pragmatist—leaned toward the latter.
Presenting his Giorgio Armani collection in Milan overnight, Mr. Armani leaned heavily on his well-established knack for nonchalant Italian glamour.
There were sumptuous velvet trousers, beautifully embroidered evening jackets, embellished capes, and chiffon gowns adorned with flowers.
As one of the longest-established fashion houses in Italy, Armani—who at 86 is still his brand’s CEO and creative director—is a man uniquely equipped to understanding the way changing social mores impact how women dress. He first launched Armani in 1975, and has weathered recessions, drastic shifts in celebrity culture (he remains among the most prevalent designers come red carpet season), and, most recently, changing attitudes towards sex and power.
Weathering the pandemic may prove his greatest challenge to date—though he revealed a pioneering level of common sense when he became the first designer to cancel his runway show when the virus broke out in Milan this time last year. He believes that the appeal of beautiful clothing will transcend our difficult cultural moment, saying in a post-show interview: “I predict that when we are allowed to pursue our lives in a more normal way, there will be a resurgence of dressing-up as people socialise again. And in this context, elegance never goes out of style.”