THE FIRST TIME
AS a RAFT of DESIGNERS MAKE THEIR DEBUTS AT the WORLD’S BIGGEST LUXURY HOUSES, GIORGIO ARMANI TALKS the POWER of THAT FIRST SHOW
I WAS NERVOUS before the first womenswear show. It was the first time I had really stood up on my own and said: ‘This is what I believe in’. At that time, nobody really knew who Giorgio Armani was, so this was my opportunity to announce myself to the world. I had shown my men’s collection three months before, in July 1975, but this was new territory. I wanted it to represent a new beginning – not just for myself, but also for the way women could dress.
The first look is always important. It should set the tone. We didn’t have a catwalk then, models walked between the audience, but you can still create a dramatic impression with minimal resources – especially if you have the element of surprise on your side. As this was my first women’s show, I certainly had that; people didn’t know what to expect.
What I wanted to do was show how womenswear could be inspired by some of the tropes of menswear. It could be elegant and simple and sophisticated – and ‘feminine.’ My first outfit back then expressed many of these notions.
Like everything, habit dulls some of the emotions of your first experience. But every show is still something I get caught up in: the adrenaline rush, the tension that mounts up until the first model sets foot onto the catwalk and fades away with the final applause.
What amazes me is that so many of the things I decided to focus on at the start of my career are still so relevant. The idea of gender in fashion is something I was playing with years ago, and is perhaps more of a topic of discussion now than ever before. And the trend for athleisure and comfort leads me back to my experiments deconstructing tailoring in the Seventies and Eighties. I always thought that clothes needed to feel relaxed and comfortable, and this is what I believe I am still known for today. When I see the conversation about fashion that is taking place today, I cannot help but think this is a story that has been played out over several decades, and will continue to be played out in the future.
“THE FIRST LOOK is ALWAYS IMPORTANT. IT SHOULD SET the TONE – AND WE DIDN’T HAVE a CAT WALK THEN”
FIRST LOOK Armani’s Seventies UK ad campaign(below left) MAN AT HOME Giorgio – and dogs – in 1979(above right)
CATWALK KING Armani made his runway debutin 1975