Do you want to be in Giorgio's club? With his new Emporio collection,
Armani's stated aim was to create an inner circle of style, its criteria
for acceptance being the ability to appreciate the designer's aesthetic
code. It's the kind of offbeat notion to which Armani has been partial
of late, but in fact the idea of a clubor at least a nightclubturned out
to be a fairly useful metaphor for this show. At heart, the collection
was about the glamour of dressing for the nightonly right round the
clock. The models, with their smudged eyes, penciled-in gigolo
mustaches, 12 o'clock shadow, and two-tone shoes, looked like tango
dancers on a bender. The musicmad gypsy violin versions of "Layla"
and "Riders on the Storm"matched perfectly. And the clothes had a
sheen that hinted at moonlight rather than summer sun.
The mood was generally more formal than one might expect from a summer
collection. Even the Bermuda shortspinstriped, worn with a jacket
and shawl-collared waistcoatlooked ready for La Scala. And when the
collection veered into more obviously sporty territory, it still had a
formal edge (the red of a jacket in a techno fabric ran in a stripe down
the leg of the accompanying trousers). On the other hand, that sports
group also featured a pair of sheer plastic pants that cried out for
Iggy Pop's brand of exhibitionism. The same fabric appeared as baggy,
suspendered shorts on the "players" in the World Cupthemed finale. Mr.
Armani also took his bow in shorts, a gesture of solidarity you'd expect
from any good club manager.