Parallel lines, blurred lines, white lines the dozens and dozens of looks in the Emporio Armani show featured every possible permutation of linear geometry. The extravagant profligacy of the presentation was like a hedged bet: Offer this many outfits and you're guaranteed that at least some will hit the mark. What is startling about Giorgio Armani is how many times it does. That's the sign of a designer who knows what he's doing. Alternately, the sizable presence of Asian models on the runway was a reminder of the new markets that are eagerly responding to designer products, and that must be inspiring to a designer like Armani, who will turn 80 in a few weeks.
The collection was called Avant Garde for no discernible reason other than it had a stark, monochrome quality that might once have been associated with edginess. But really it was more of Emporio's urban same: bombers, bikers, the shorter blazer, the cropped pants, the thick-soled athletic slip-on. Armani had some optical fun with the lines, making diagonal slashes on some jackets, creating wide stripes of black and white leather on others. The most attractive pieces in the collection were the sheer shirts and shiny shorts that closed the show. It wasn't so long ago that men in the city would never bare their legs. Now the streets of Milan offer ample proof that it's de rigueur. And the ever-prescient Armani won't be caught short.