Emporio Armani

By Luke Leitch
September 24, 2020

Props to Mr. Armani for sticking to tradition by dropping this prerecorded digital Emporio video a little late. Just as at a physical Armani show the wait allowed you fully to imbibe his aesthetic atmosphere, which was this time provided by a Bois d’Encens scented candle he had kindly sent in the post. Along with it was a note in which he wrote: “As you know, given the health restraints regarding traveling, it is not yet possible for me to do my shows in the usual manner. I have however thought of an alternative.”
This video, entitled Building Dialogues, was part one of that alternative and was presented on Armani’s own digital platforms as well as that of the Camera Della Moda. Part 2. Impressively, we will see Saturday night’s 40 minute Giorgio Armani collection video, entitled Timeless Thoughts, broadcast on the national Italian TV station LA7. Following that the channel will air *American Gigolo* as part of a full-tilt “Armani Night” marathon. It’s a lineup that should really also feature Martin Scorsese’s fantastic 1990 short documentary on the designer, Made in Milan, although you can watch it [here](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2Hg6qeBirM).
Scorsese’s film closes with a shot of Armani’s eye as he peeks through a curtain backstage to observe the audience and show. That human proximity is something which for both audience and designer, 2020’s COVID-19 digital shows (of which Armani was the pioneer) have precluded, however this Emporio video was as utterly Armanian as any live presentation in his Teatro. It seemed to contain a vague plot in which protagonists including Miguel Silvestre from *Narcos* (who I once met in a Mexico City elevator, and is the nicest guy ever) and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen from *The Rain* are possessed with the superpower of extreme sensitivity that allows them to detect a mysterious multi-colored orb that is slowly and ominously descending over a montage of Armani’s headquarters, gallery space, and new office here in Milan. There is also an alarming section in which the blue-haired DJ Sita Abellan and Paris Opera étoile Germain Louvet ruin their shoes in the Teatro’s water feature.

All of this inevitably distracts a little from the clothes. In menswear, Silvestre’s opening look mixed a collarless long-skirted unlined jacket and wide pant in checked mixed linen dévoré to establish the theme of both silhouette and weight. The elastic dance moves of choreographer twin brothers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois highlighted the flexibility afforded despite the apparent structure of the this-season Emporio Jackets. Even through the director’s slightly wan filter you could detect a shine on some of the suits that indicated the use of plenty of technical or metal-flecked fabrics.
Womenswear featured plenty of wide belted strapless dresses in softly patterned silks with knot details. There were also loose oversized trenches, organic-looking evolved sportswear separates, and full skirted layered organza minidresses. Because of the croppy drone-shot staccato of angles that made up this film, it was difficult to follow the rhythmic progression of fabric, decoration, and silhouette that unfolds at a ‘real’ Armani show, but one new departure was a total absence of hats.

Building Dialogues ends with an unresolved cliffhanger: that orb finally lands in Armani’s courtyard as Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack rises to a nervy crescendo—and then suddenly we cut to credits.