MILAN - When it comes to style, Giorgio Armani never disappoints.
The new second line Emporio collection presented on the third day of the spring-summer menswear 2014 preview shows is more about research than about shape.
Presenting an elegant wardrobe entitled "Digital," Armani takes classic menswear favourites — suits, jackets, shirts, slacks and pullovers — and makes them contemporary through the use of techno fabrics and laser techniques.
Shapes become extra light, linings disappear and zippers and press studs replace buttons. Heat welding gets rid of seams as in the rough cut light wool jacket or the straight-legged trouser with pleated waist for extra comfort.
Colours range from Armani blue to teal green, to putty beige and ice white, all made more luminous by high tech mingling of cotton and yarns. Punctures are laser etched into super soft leather, creating a digital effect.
There's lots of novelty in the accessory department, such as the small hand bags carried by the models, a look Armani discovered in Japan, or the see-through plexiglass lace-ups.
"Revealing the ankle can be sexy," a good-humoured Armani said after the show Monday.
The undisputed king of Milan fashion was more serious in discussing his decision to remain outside Italy's National Fashion Chamber, which is trying to revitalize the Milan runway amid concern that it's losing prestige to London, Paris and New York.
The permanently tanned, blue-eyed designer who turns 79 next month argues that the chamber has no hold over designers, as evidence by the constant bickering over the preferred slots on the official show calendar.
"There is too much competition. And nobody has the courage to do anything about it," Armani said.