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 club—or at least a nightclub—turned out to be a fairly useful metaphor for this show. At heart, the collection was about the glamour of dressing for the night—only 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 music—mad 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 shorts—pinstriped, worn with a jacket and shawl-collared waistcoat—looked 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 Cup–themed finale. Mr. Armani also took his bow in shorts, a gesture of solidarity you'd expect from any good club manager.