Giorgio Armani Fall 2023 Men’s Fashion Show Review
By Mark Wittmer
Continuing with his post-pandemic work-from-home theme – which began with the Spring 2022 menswear show, where Mr. Armani made the surprising and personal move of returning to show at his home and former headquarters in Via Borgonuovo – the legendary designer’s Fall 2023 Show .was held in the subterranean space of the palazzo runway and an intimate room that was a famous fashion hotspot during the 90s, and thankfully has become so again.
It’s a fitting return for Milan fashion’s original leading light, who is just as excited about blurring the lines of menswear now as he was when he first made his name doing it.
While things still remain on the cutting edge of ultimate masculine elegance, and the atmosphere feels anachronistically formal, Armani infuses it with an imaginative yet precise rethinking of what categories of menswear can and should belong together.
In the first series of looks, things were formal yet comfortable with gray tweed as the styling team played with the idea of the inherent layering of suits, mixing, matching and sometimes throwing out coats, jackets, waistcoats and silk shirts. At the top, the cuts feel classic, while the pants move into some wider and more fluid territory, with one surprising inclusion of baggy yet tapered cargo pants that actually echo the familiar streetwear style.
Other subtle experiments continued what was an ongoing dialogue between Armani, its customers and the changing style trends around them, such as the interesting inclusion of cinched hoods on several jackets or the use of monograms. While it’s a bit hard to imagine the typical Armani customer going for the former, it’s exciting to see the more conservative menswear staple taking risks and mixing it up.
A touch of World War II-era military air force and motorcycling could be detected in smart bomber and motorcycle jackets, in accessories such as riding boots, gloves and sunglasses, and generally in strong, tapered silhouettes.
(looks 37, 62, 32, 40)
While it’s understandable that the brand would want to push its Neva collection for the autumn/winter season – skiwear is huge at the moment – it’s not seen as necessary to include it in a fashion show. The campaign could have better showcased these mountain red and gray looks in action, and created a little break in the rhythm before the evening wear finished things off. Things got interesting though in a brief window when the main collection and the Neva collection seemed to merge.
In a way, it was exciting to see the pair of models together wearing the final look of the collection, glittering and elegant black-tie evening wear (although there were no literal ties), acting like real couples on their way to dinner as it broke the suffocating mold of the runway. But it also felt awkward and uncomfortable.
The standing ovation that followed seemed like it would happen regardless of what we saw, but it was less about this particular performance and more about acknowledging the feat that has been Mr. Armani’s career and the empire he has built.
While at times the collection seemed stuck between tradition and innovation, formality and intimacy, its best moments transcended these differences and provided a clear vision of menswear that is confident, elegant and uninhibited.