MILAN - Giorgio Armani sees the irony.
The female models — all belonging to the target audience for his younger line Emporio Armani— arrive in leather leggings and he fits them in wide-legged trousers that evoke ankle-length skirts.
The 79-year-old designer is not bothered in the least by "this divergence" at his fall/winter womenswear preview Friday on the third day of Milan Fashion Week.
Armani said his wide pants recall a long skirt, which younger women today don't want "because it is part of another world, a bygone world."
Yet his pants stop at the ankle and have youthful touches like a playful buckle. The trousers, which also come in Bermuda length, are worn with heavy soled shoes and daintier pumps with bows alike, and paired with blousons or masculine jackets.
Armani said he was inspired by Luc Besson's Nikita, the French femme fatale.
"(The looks) were put together in a way that projects a strong attitude," he said.
Yet the pieces are still soft, appealing and wearable for women of any age.
The Emporio Armani woman wears her hair tussled under a feminine bowler's cap. The look is accented with ironic Plexiglas ties, belts and bracelets, or pretty pearls that appear as buttons, accenting the trims of dresses or forming pinstripes down trousers.
While Armani in many ways is taking a tongue-in cheek look at men's fashion for women, few designers know a woman's figure better.
"If a woman doesn't have too much bust or behind, she can wear a man's suit, but otherwise, if she is more fully figured, she appears to be a sex bomb," Armani joked.
He prefers to keep sensuality understated — in touches of a bare leg, a high heel or a plunging neckline.