Every season I find myself needing to explain that Emporio Armani has precious little to do with the main Giorgio Armani label. This is a very different collection with a much younger, less affluent audience. One is not going to see tailored suits or sharp formal ensembles in this line. Think younger. Think more hip. Think … very, very loose.

To some extent, I wonder if Armani didn’t look at the silhouettes planned for this season and say, “Okay, now let’s make everything two inches larger.” I’ve not seen a collection quite this relaxed, even in the Emporio line. One can almost sense a huge sigh of comfort built into the clothes. Everything from cropped tops and shorts to sweatshirts and jersey knit pants benefit from this enlarge feel. Even where there are more masculine styled jackets, they’re given sizable shoulder pads and are not too terribly tailored so there’s plenty of room inside.

One will also notice that this collection is very, very blue. Different hues and shades of blue, to be sure, but the cool, calming tone permeates the entire collection, as though telling women to take a deep breath and chill for a moment. Stripes and large patches are common elements, and there are even some very ruffled, very short skirts tossed into the mix. There are a couple of times the breadth of the stripes get a little extreme. One nicely styled jacket and pants ensemble comes off looking like a mix between pajamas and a prison uniform, not exactly the most flattering of looks. Such errors are few, though, as this is generally a collection that pretty much can’t miss in its general appeal.

Definite winners from this very large collection include pleated slacks with rolled cuffs that sit a little lower than normal on the hips. For women who may be a bit shorter, these pants are wonderful. There are some pleated skirts that will look very good on a large number of women as well. Sweater fanatics are going to just go nuts from the range of choices they have in this collection as well. Knit looks, over all, are among the most attractive in the whole ensemble.

Emporio Armani always has a more broad appeal than does the main line and if anything this collection is only going to widen this market as it opens the looks to a number of women with varying body types who may have thought designer wear was out of reach for them. The only caveat is one has to look good in blue. Most people do, but there are occasionally those dear folks who don’t and there’s no sense in trying to force it. Enjoy this Emporio Armani collection and relax; that’s what the clothes would want you to do.

Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos

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