Giorgio Armani opened his Emporio show with a nip-waisted, flaring velvet coat that had a zipper descending diagonally from one shoulder to the opposite hip. It's a silhouette that's become familiar these last few seasons chez Armani, but he quickly segued into the "relaxed approach" and "masculine aplomb" his show notes promised, and in what felt like a return of sorts to his roots, he sent out a battalion's worth of pants. Double-pleated and cuffed in techno-utility fabrics or fuller through the thighs and tapering to the ankles in velvet, they were paired with jackets in oversize checks, stamped crocodile, chalk stripes, metallic leather, and more. The variety of fabrics notwithstanding, nearly all of those jackets were cut close to the body and fitted through the waist, and in keeping with the show's tailored turn, the hats, bags, and jewelry that accessorized every look were often spare and geometric in feeling. Even the casting was focused on models with short, angular haircuts.

That's not to say Armani neglected feminine sparkle—his repertoire, to say nothing of his retail footprint, is too wide-ranging for that. The crystal- and mirror-encrusted dresses that closed the show should appeal to the customer who insists on always dressing like a lady. But in a season when everyone is talking about the return of sportswear separates, it was good to see the designer largely playing to his first strength.