MILAN - For next summer, Giorgio Armani is back to doing what he does best — tailoring gorgeous jackets.
Indeed, it all started with a jacket for the permanently-tanned Milanese designer who turns 79 next month. The first was lining-less, but it wasn't long before an Armani suit was a wardrobe must and an Armani tuxedo a red carpet favourite. Womenswear, accessories, home furnishings and most recently hotels followed, turning the label into a fashion empire now worth $7 billion.
While most Italian fashion companies have gone public or become part of a luxury conglomerate, Armani is still his own boss and has repeatedly stated he has no "immediate" plans to change.
The Armani show on Tuesday — the last day of the summer 2013 menswear previews in Milan — was an ode to the jacket, from soft cardigan cuts to blazers and more structured city jackets, all in super-refined lightweight fabrics.
Armani called his signature show "sportsmanship," but it was really about transforming sportswear into elegant attire.
The overall look was of a well put-together man whose cut of clothes is casual. A cardigan jacket could be worn with a pair of pleated trousers, while a navy suit had Bermuda shorts but also a shirt and tie.
The season's silhouette is comfy and slightly elongated. The jacket has four or six buttons and the shoulder is unpadded. The pleated trousers are soft around the hips and brush the ankle.
The latest leather jacket — either bomber or blazer — is made of leather worked to look like seersucker, a tribute to Italian craftsmanship.
Armani is not in the habit of following the pack. While most of Milan is screaming colour, Armani quietly stuck to his longtime favourites: sandy beige, pebble grey, coffee brown and ink blue.