East Meets West: Emporio Armani Spring/Summer 2018

East Meets West: Emporio Armani Spring/Summer 2018

Mr. Armani delved into the dialogue between Japonism and his Milan tailoring codes for Emporio Armani’s Spring/Summer’18 collection, the results – refreshingly modern.

Looking Towards the Far East

Western fashion’s fascination with the East has been well documented, The Metropolitan Museum of Art staging a staggering exhibition of “China: Through the Looking Glass” back in 2015 was further proof of that. Us Asians tend to be slightly skeptical about such fusion in fashion because the Eastern adaptation could be so overt and literal that we most probably have seen such similar pieces reinterpreted by local labels. 

The Emporio Armani Spring/Summer’18 showing steered away from exoticism, the focus was firmed on keeping the dialogue between the two contrasting cultures. “I love the way that oriental clothes adapt to the body rather than constricting it – their rich texture and fabrics, their essential lines. These are characteristics I wanted to bring into Emporio this season, with a novel, dynamic interpretation. In this collection, I mix fabrics and cuts typical of the Far East with Western shapes such as parkas and bombers. I created my own idea of metropolitan Japonism, because the metropolis is the true backdrop of contemporary style”, said Mr. Armani.

Hence, throughout the collection, one can easily spot the Japonism elements in the opulence of textiles, where silk is the key material, and asymmetry, reminiscent of kimonos, were seen in the closures of tops and pants, . While Armani’s signature dark blue hues remained a classic on the runways, the introduction of Eastern colours associated with luck, red and richness, gold lent vibrancy to the discourse. 

If you thought that this collection was a seasonal obsession for Mr. Armani then you thought wrong. The Far East has always been a constant source of inspiration for the designer, not just when creating fashion but also in conceptualising spaces and home decor. Over the years, Mr. Armani has introduced Japonism in his Armani Casa range and his passion for the culture has constantly been shared in the Emporio Armani Magazine.

He shared, “‘I like the elegance of distant cultures; it has always stimulated me from a design point of view. In particular, the reference to the Far East is a constant underlining feature of my aesthetic. For Spring/Summer’18 I wanted to interpret this with an Emporio twist, with a dynamic, urban vision.” So rest assured that when he does a collection emphasising a dialogue between East meets West, the end results would be a Spring/Summer’18 runway that has been thoroughly researched.

The New Suit Inspired by Kimonos

The stunning result of this meticulous research is a new suit silhouette inspired by kimonos. Mr. Armani rose to the challenge of overcoming antithetical extremes of the way of conceiving this new suit, the virtual absence of cut in Japanese kimonos and a style that redesigns the body in Western suits. In the collection, he mixes and changes both items with a organic touch — blending fluid jackets with karate-inspired culottes, adopting kimono fabrics for tailored blazers and pairing it with the extreme proportions of large samurai trousers. The outcome is a novel suit with a multicultural perspective and the permutations were countless as Giorgio Armani sent out eighty looks on the runway.

Mr. Armani was sure proud of the collection, “I created a play on references that works in both directions: redesigning the suit with a clear nod to the shape of the kimono, or proposing it with kimono-style fabrics. This resulted in the feeling of a new elegance, one that is practical and sophisticated, which I find very current and dynamic.” And this writer cannot agree more and cannot wait to land his hands on a pair of the billowy silk culottes in dark blue.