Armani urges political action to preserve fashion

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

MILAN (AP) — Milan and Rome are Italy's yin and yang: fashion capital, political capital, their fates entwined.

This week, while Milan revels in what it does best, showing off its Made in Italy ready-to-wear fashion to the world, Rome is mesmerized by Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi who confirmed Friday that he has formed a new government.

But Italy's fashion world is mindful that whatever is decided in Rome is crucial to the industry's global competitiveness.

Giorgio Armani says he expects "real attention" from the new government. On the policy front, he would like to see politicians bring down the cost of labor.

"If China can make plastic jewelry for 30 euros, why do we have to pay 150 euros in Italy," Armani asked during a chat with reporters after his Emporio Armani preview show.

Emporio Armani joins Blumarine, Etro and Versace in showing their wears Friday, the third day of Milan Fashion Week.

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Armani is at every home game for the Emporio Armani Milano basketball team, and what goes around comes around: the team came out to support him at the Emporio Armani show on Friday.

"He is always sitting there, in the front row, and he is cheering us and supporting us," said forward David Moss. "That's big when you have an owner like that, who is involved and appreciates the game of basketball."

And he happens to design a pretty mean jacket, too, Moss noted.

"When I am wearing his suit, the feel of the comfort, it is awesome," said the 6-foot-5-inch (1.96 meter) player.

Armani's involvement with sport doesn't end there. He also designs the uniforms for the Italian Olympic team, including the athletes competing in Sochi.

One of the recipients of the 50-piece kit, Italian Alpine skier and Christof Innerhofer also was at the show Friday.

Innerhofer returned home an Olympic champion, winning a silver medal in downhill and a bronze in the supercombined event at Sochi. Unsurprisingly then that he said the Games were "great."


The Emporio Armani looks were inspired by Luc Besson's Nikita, the French femme fatale.

Her short black hair is tussled, worn at times under a felt hat. The Emporio Nikita wears smart wide-legged pants with youthful accents like pearls that lighten up the dark palate and playful, if ironic, ties out of Plexiglas. The wide pants are a replacement for the long skirt, which Armani says the young women he targets with the Emporio line look at as something from the past.

While the designer acknowledged that the runway collection was "put together in a way that projects a strong attitude," the pieces, in their singularity, are soft, appealing and wearable for women of any age.

The color palate is black and white, which can be a metaphor for the way masculine and feminine pieces in the collection interact. Offering contrast is a cold turquoise.

Armani says there's nothing second quality in this youthful line. The designer said he reworked the collection eight times.

"There is a crazy amount of work," he said.