Giorgio Armani is to Milan what Oscar de la Renta was to New York: the grandfatherly don of a fashion family, setting the standard for elegance, luxury, and glamor. Armani has, for years, been the gold standard of class and breeding, the label to which everyone aspires. So then, it may come as a bit of a surprise when I tell you that this morning’s autumn/winter 2015 presentation is decidedly more casual than I can ever remember seeing from the label. In fact, I have a real shocker for you:

There are no dresses.

At least, not within the daywear section, which accounts for 95% of the collection. There are a handful of gowns at the very end, but their number is fewer than ten and it is obvious they were pulled from the couture collection and pared down for ready-to-wear. There is one fur skirt, which is almost nondescript and easily passed over. But daywear dresses? Not a one.

What we get instead is an array of suits and separates that are on trend, with slightly cropped pants and double-breasted blazers, and at the same time very unique. Perhaps the dominant element in this collection is what appears to be a skirt/pant combination. At first glance, it seems that they are two separate but well-coordinated pieces. No, it’s all a single unit, which comes in rather handy as long as one likes the styling. The skirt portion loosely resembles a wrap but doesn’t quite close so that there’s sufficient room for walking/sitting. These are pieces designed for a more active lifestyle rather than the more traditional Armani woman who has always been a bit more sedate.

Beyond that, pay attention to the details for that’s where the excitement lies. There are so many little things to notice in the blouses and jackets of this collection that it would be silly to even try and list them all. Two elements stand out, though. One is a set of tops with a flop over tie at the neckline. They look a bit unkempt when first seen, but take a closer look and see that they really are well put together pieces that have the ability to go from casual to sexy in about two seconds. The other element, and my personal opinion is still wavering on this one, is detached collars. I’m having trouble deciding whether these are a good thing or not because it changes depending on the ensemble and how the collar is used. There are times Armani puts them outside, on top of everything else in the ensemble and that doesn’t feel too strange. But then, he frequently turns them off-center and at times even fastens them with a large, decorated clip that just feels out of place for the rest of the look. Other times, he tucks the collar under everything where it is barely noticeable and still on other occasions he pops the collar to give the piece a more refined look … sort of. You’ll have to be your own judge on this one.

Of course, there are plenty of sequins and exquisite beadwork delivering all kinds of sparkle where one wants sparkle. Just because these are all pants and jumpers doesn’t mean they don’t dress up well. There are even sufficient amounts of lace in the tops to provide that somewhat provocative look without becoming inelegant. You’ll also want to pay attention to the incredible wraps and bathrobe-style belting. High-quality Armani tailoring comes standard.

If Giorgio Armani shows us anything with this collection it is that he still has a plethora of creative ideas to explore with women’s clothes and we dare not attempt to put that creativity within a box. His concepts are as fresh and innovative as anyone’s and given the rather bland week we’ve had I’d say the old man is still well ahead of most. Armani is still as strong and viable a collection as ever.

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