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

ELLE (UK) - - Mood Board - by GIOR­GIO AR­MANI

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

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