Tag Archives: Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani, 1984

“The Armani look of studied simplicity has such strength it tends to make conventionally designed women’s clothes look overdone.”

– BERNADINE MORRIS, 1983

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An Athletic Look, 2013

Armani1987At Armani, an alluring combination of casual athletic wear and classic tailoring, a seductive mix of two ’80s archetypes: the jock and the business man. Photographed by Aldo Fallai, 1987.

DKNY1994In a 1994 DKNY Active campaign Rosemary McGrotha and Marc Vanderloo define their ideal duo of the mid 1990s: urban, active, and in-shape. The graphic language of the runner uniform becomes the idea look for a hyper modern metropolis.

SteveJobsThe late Steve Jobs is pragmatically dressed in an Issey Miyake mock neck pullover and New Balance sneakers, sporting a look as integral in synergizing technology and lifestyle in the midst of the Information Age as any of his Apple innovations.

Sports1Looks from the Fall-Winter 2013 season by Tim Coppens, Damir Doma, Patrik Ervell, Issey Miyake, Kris Van Aasche, and Lanvin.

It’s no secret that active wear has steadily made its way into fashion semantics over the last 20 years, just as sportswear became a part of everyday dress decades before. From Nike to Northface to the genre defining Y-3, clothes designed for comfort and performance have been readily adapted into symbols of status, community, and progressive lifestyle. For fall 2013 some of the keenest menswear designers in the U.S. and Europe took inspiration from the world of athletics and its contemporary uniform: zippers, nylon, heathered grey jersey, running sneakers — no longer for the gym or the track field, they aspire to a modernism based in practicality and necessity and an acceptance and admiration of technology as a means to better one’s life. The last time this spirit got such a potent and fleshed out treatment was maybe in the mid ‘90s when DKNY pursued the active look to define their urban centric ambitions. That this language enjoys such a fashionable revival just as we come to terms with our totally engrossing technological dependence, just as dial-up modems and affordable personal computers offered the startling appeal of a bright bold future almost 20 years ago, is no surprise. It’s the look of Google, Apple, and Microsoft, of computer tablets and smart phones, a look that puts stock in intellectual stamina and a body that works in tandem with the mind, not against it. It is the idea of the Jock flipped on its head as athletic wear becomes a part of everyday dress, worn by a generation who seek solutions in all aspects of their life, or, at least for now, the look of it.

Giorgio Armani, 1984

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Giorgio Armani, 1988

 

Giorgio Armani Fall/Winter 1988 photographed by Aldo Fallai

Armani, 1990

“This new fashion sensibility was expressed most compellingly by Giorgio Armani. In recent seasons, the Milanese inventor of the square-shouldered, wedge-shaped, much-imitated power suit, has reversed himself, showing fluid jackets of zoot-suit proportions. Their shoulders looked deflated. Their fabrics had a certifiably worn appearance. And they were modeled by men who slouched down the runway, heads down, hands in pockets, in a posture meant to signify sincerity. For as Armani himself has said, ‘One must have the courage to show oneself a little bit as one is.’

Armani’s about-face, and his models’ loose, shambling, even apologetic gait, signaled the advent of an era of sartorial understatement – one befitting the cautionary spirit of the coming decade. ‘Armani sensed that the collapse of greed is good ideology before other people did,’ says Marshall Blonsky, the author of ‘American Mythologies,’ a soon-to-be-published look at American culture and fashion. What we have been seeing, says Blonsky, is the ‘dismantling of Reaganist attitudes. And fashion participates in that deconstruction.”’

from SINCERELY YOURS by RUTH LA FERLA, NYT, 1990

Alternatives, 2012

The Men’s Dress Reform Party, London, 1937

One of the many factions advocating radical change in conventional Western dress in the early 20th century, the Men’s Dress Reform Party pursued a softer, easier look based on comfort and aesthetic principle. Soft collars, shorts,  breeches, and even sandals were prized for their sartorial freedom and their parallel political reflections.

Raincoat designed by Issey Miyake, modeled by Kabuki actor Kichiemon Nakamura

Miyake found no discrepancy between East and West, believing that the two could combine into an amalgam of a modern world. In his design of a raincoat the binary of traditional Japanese clothes making and modern technology only compliment each other.

Yohji Yamamoto, circa 1984

Yamamoto utilized his native dress  with no less fervor bringing essentially Japanese shapes and forms to fashionable attention, facing head-on world dominating Western dress. While it would not reshape the modern wardrobe it would help put it into perspective and offer at least one divergent direction forward.

Giorgio Armani, 1990

Armani’s relaxed attitude, burgeoning into ubiquity in the late ’80s and early ’90s, took its inspiration from dress of the Middle East and Asia. A softer silhouette, still in cahoots with the oversized masculinity of its time, was sensual and seductive.

Raf Simons, 2005

Simons’s fall 2005 collection was an anathema to men’s fashion of its time. Sending out street casted boys in oversized silhouettes, owing as much to 1980’s Yamamoto as it does  the decades’ science fiction narratives ala Blade Runner and Brazil, the show struck a note that would vibrate much longer than a single season.

The spring 2012 men’s wear collections from Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Christophe Lemaire, Issey Miyake, Damir Doma, Thom Browne, and Lanvin.

The Spring 2012 men’s wear collections in Milan and Paris are not so easily defined through rock‘n’roll, iconic heritage, or some kind of vague sartorialism – the usual language that gets bandied around from season to season to describe men’s fashion. The collections this time had a lot more to them. Trying to clearly express what it is, what these clothes really are, is much trickier, muddled in their ambiguity and contradictions; at once soft and strict, synthetic and natural, ancient and modern. There are no easy references to rely on but there is a means forward.

Armani, 1988

From a 1988 campaign, photographed by Aldo Fallai

“Giorgio Armani was the first to float the idea. When the Milanese maestro of the tailored suit decided to soften his precise shapes a few seasons ago, he also began paying special attention to the blouses that accompanied them. Adding details like delicate collars or a bit of draping, and making the blouses from semisheer silky fabrics, he started a trend that has bloomed into an American fashion statement.”

– “The New Blouse” by  Carrie Donovan for the NYT, September 20, 1988