“My decision not to use any music in the show was made as a sign of respect towards the people involved in the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine”. So began Giorgio Armani’s fall winter 2022 collection, presented in poignant, moving silence, out of a small underground theatre in the brand’s Via Borgonuovo Milanese headquarters. Armani was the first designer to openly acknowledge the Russian invasion of Ukraine during fashion month, a move that asserted his position as a moral compass in the industry. Two years ago, when rumblings of an impending pandemic first began circulating, Armani was the first designer to cancel his in-person runway shows to try and protect the health of his guests and staff.

“What could I do? I could only signal my heartbreak for the tragedy through the silence,” Armani told press post-show. “I didn’t want to show music. The best thing is to give a signal that we’re not happy, but to recognise something disturbing is happening. I think the clothes became even more powerful through the silence.” As many publications have pointed out, the threat of an emerging war in Europe is particularly personal to Mr. Armani, who was born in 1934 and was 11 years old when the Second World War ended. During his pre-fashion days as a medical student, he saw the economic and psychological devastation of war first hand.

Giorgio Armani Fall Winter 2022
Image: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani

As for the FW ‘22 collection, it was a soft, ‘30s-inspired collection aptly titled ‘Signs of Light’. Dresses and skirts came in fluid, elongated silhouettes that bounced effortlessly as models floated down the runway. The colour palette was muted, favouring shades of silver, navy, grey, black, and white—long-time favourites in the Armani repertoire. Some gowns, including those with tiers of beaded fringing, called to mind the ‘Roaring 20s’ we have been so-long told is set for a resurgence, while other pieces embraced a more pared-back approach to eveningwear: cropped structured jackets with graphic prints, loose velvet trousers, liquid silk slip dresses. 

In the accompanying notes, Armani referred to a “sense of elegance created by renouncing the superfluous, rather than excess”. This austere mentality felt surprisingly appropriate to the moment. Particularly when presented in silence, the small details that make Giorgio Armani’s designs feel so quietly glamorous came into sharper focus. “I think elegance is a matter of subtraction rather than one of addition,” Armani said in a post-show interview. “Through subtraction, the personality of the wearer shines through”. For more than four decades, Armani has been a guiding light of Italian fashion, one who has never failed to read the room or adapt to challenges. Today proved why he’s a designer that remains at the top of his game.

Giorgio Armani Fall Winter 2022
Image: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Fall Winter 2022
Image: Courtesy of Giorgio Armani

 

 

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