However cloying the Catwalk Conversation (when models stroll along, usually arm in arm, oozing fake good cheer), it must be said that a smile is such a rare thing on the runway that every one is welcome. This season, the Emporio Armani Experience was positively exuberant as a small army of young men and women streamed by, engaged in professionally social intercourse. Arch or not, the staging complemented the clothes, which were intended to embrace the easy movement from work time to playtime that Armani sees as a feature of contemporary life. Even the group of EA7 skiwear with which he opened the show had a sophisticated new gloss, which set the tone for a collection that effortlessly combined sportswear and eveningwear.
A hoodie-and-tux-pants combo was the very least of it. In fact, the hood was probably the dominant motif, on jackets and coats in classic tweeds, glen plaids, or windowpane checks. But equally, the tux stripe showed up over and over. Between the two, they made for an elegant athleticism. The same quality infused layered knits, or blazers with scooped-out sides, like fencing jackets. But at this he-can-do-whatever-he-wants stage in Armani's career, it's the eccentric touches that one seeks and relishes, like the glittery tweed sock-boots, the massive shawl swathing a tailored look, or the dangling chains decorating the lapels and belt of an evening look. Armani's having funand he wants us to share it.