Giorgio Armani's shows exist in a universe of their own. They are epically scaled rummages through the mind of a designer who has passed over the course of four industry-defining decades from revolutionary to pillar of the fashion establishment. Sometimes Armani looks to his strengths and comes up trumps. Other times, he takes a leap into a challenging unknown and meets with less success. On the whole, today's Emporio show counts as one of the latter exercises.

It was, somewhat mystifyingly, called Kajal. Otherwise known as kohl, kajal is a pigment that's been used to color cosmetics for centuries. So that probably explained a palette that ranged from creamy pinks to smoky blues. Compatible with the Armani we know, true. There were also vestiges of that designer in the soft tailoring of a jacket, or the mannish sweep of a coat. But what really shaped this collection was Armani's longtime passion for Japan, here utilized in its more avant-garde extremes. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to see Giorgio Armani cross-pollinated with Rei Kawakubo, look no further than Emporio's two-dimensional bonded velvets. The volumes of knife-pleated pants and shorts, the Edwardian-tinged high waists and petaled hems hinted too at neo-Japonisme.

The presentation today also put on full display Armani's affection for hats. There wasn't a bare head in the whole show, a reminder of the era when the man's aesthetic was shaped in childhood. This experimental collection showed that, to his credit, he hasn't lost his sense of play.