A Gift from Giorgio Armani Munich

DSC04736

It’s been a while since I visited Giorgio Armani in Munich (more about what is happening in Munich in the next blog entry), but today I got a couple of surprises. Not only did they recognize me by name, and comment in detail on this blog, but they also gave me an excellent present: the Guggenheim Museum’s huge, hardback history of Giorgio Armani, which is pretty much the bible on all things Armani. Many thanks to Karim at GA Munich for this thoughtful and useful gift; I’ve already spotted some great quotations in there and an interesting discussion on one of the most famous and widely imitated Armani innovations – deconstruction.

The Runway vs. Real Life

Earlier today I was reviewing some runway shots from the Armani SS13 Privé collection and it struck me that this is the second time I have seen runway models making Giorgio Armani collections look a bit frumpy. Take a look at the faces of the models in the Paris haute couture show earlier this year to see what I mean (thanks to Vogue Italia for the pictures).

Now I freely admit that not all Giorgio Armani clothing looks great – maybe that is unexpected from someone like me, but even I don’t like every single thing I see on the racks or in the collections, especially some of the more patterned and obvious clothing. But some of those Privé dresses are stunning; just block out the faces of the models and see what I mean.

I noticed this also in the January FW 2013/14 Men’s show photos. And in that case it struck me that the models are too young to be wearing those clothes. The black label Giorgio Armani lines are designed for buyers in the 35-55 range, and yet the models all seem to be about 18-25 – callow youths, to borrow a phrase. I would prefer to see some of those looks, like the one below, being worn by a more solid, mid-30’s model – and I own that jacket, by the way, or maybe one very like it.

ar23

Now in that men’s collection Armani went very sporty, with tightly tailored pants and all kinds of interesting fabrics, textures and closures. But does that mean only the younger models can wear those styles? No. I don’t think some of the younger models can wear these clothes and move in a way that makes them come alive. They don’t have the physical and emotional presence to catapault those outfits into the real world. They look good, but not great.

In contrast, I saw some amazing women’s outfits in the February FW 2013/14 Women’s RTW collection, and in the SS13 RTW line , and in both those cases the models and clothes worked – the styling and line of the models blended with the nature and texture of the clothes. Look back at older shots of Armani models from the 1980’s – again they worked brilliantly, stunningly well.

My – perhaps obvious – view is that there needs to be a marriage of the clothes and the selection and styling of models wearing them, to give the garments the chance to glow and sparkle. I can imagine it is not always easy to get all the elements just right, even if you are a highly detail-oriented designer like Giorgio Armani.

But when it is right, and you see how these clothes were meant to work, they just explode off the page, and you want to have them in the real world, where they can, hopefully, work that incredible, subtle magic on your tired, lumpy, old, broken frame…

Giorgio Armani takes a Bow

DSC04288

It’s amazing to me just how quickly these shows pass by. I can imagine all the work that goes into creating each piece, and each one literally flashes past you in a few seconds. I must admit a while back I thought that people taking notes at these shows was a bit much, but now I can completely understand why they need to do that – you are looking at individual pieces, but also trying to spot themes and quirks, and they come at you very fast. But even from the 5th row you can see everything quite clearly – much more clearly than these photos show. It was a very nice show, congratulations on the new collection Mr Armani.

Good Morning from Teatro Armani

DSC04305

As the crowds start to gather outside the main entrance to Teatro Armani, and – I think – I’ve already spotted Christian Bale, aka Batman, who wore Giorgio Armani suits in the Bruce Wayne persona. The invitations are very cool, and contain an RFID chip – so even if you know what they look like, you can’t copy them.

Buona Sera Milano

DSC04215

Back in Milan for the second time in a month, staying on Via Voghera just 2 minutes from Via Bergonone. All seems very quiet outside the Giorgio Armani offices at about 8pm, but by tomorrow I can imagine those barriers will be pressed into heavy service as the crowds throng to the highlight runway of the entire fashion week. I was interested to see The Sartorialist is also in the area, on Via Tortona just around the corner. Make sure to follow the Twitter feed (on the right of this page) for quick updates during the day tomorrow. Should be fun.

Milan Men’s Fashion Week starts tomorrow

CNMI_start

While the London Collections: Men, run by the British Fashion Council this past few days, has focused on bringing on a host of relatively new or minor British designers, the Milan Men’s Fashion Week is a cornerstone of the annual global fashion calendar, and focuses squarely on the big guns of Italian style and fashion. Hosted by the CNMI, Milan is a home turf showcase for all the major Italian brands and a handful of the international ones like Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Marc Jacobs too.  The schedule of runway shows is here, with many of them streaming online. I personally will be making my first visit ever to a fashion show, and starting at the very top: my “virgin” runway experience will be the Giorgio Armani show on Tuesday morning. I hope to offer the gentle readers of this blog some live-ish updates from inside and around the event. Many thanks to Monica and Gianluca for the invitation and arrangements, much appreciated.

A mistake and a lesson at Louis Vuitton

A few weeks ago I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and bought what seemed like a very nice jersey from Louis Vuitton, costing about US$930. It had a small LV logo on the neck, but for Vuitton it was quite discreet.

DSC03786

But on reflection I decided it was a mistake. After returning home I tried it on a couple more times, and realized that as nice as it was, it didn’t fit the style and direction of the wardrobe I am building.

I therefore decided to return the item – and in doing so discovered LV’s returns policy: no refunds.

Credit notes? Yes.

But refunds? No.

And that policy is clearly written both on the receipt and below the cash register, so you have very little wiggle room if all you can say is “I changed my mind” – which is all I personally had to say.

Firstly I find this interesting, as this policy partially explains Vuitton’s continually stellar and growing revenue numbers – they don’t have refunds, so cash in the bank is cash that stays in the bank, and goods go back on the shelf; other stores do return for refund, although they don’t have to do so, at least under EU law.

Secondly it is a tiny bit annoying, mainly because I blindly spent nearly $1000 without thinking about it more carefully and sticking to rules I defined publicly some time ago.

Lessons learned:-

  1. Stick to Giorgio Armani for clothes, and Prada for shoes, just like you said you would.
  2. Don’t buy anything else from Louis Vuitton unless absolutely sure you want it.

I have since used a large chunk of the credit note to buy a nice shawl as a gift for my mother-in-law, who was very happy to have it. I consider that a save.