Emporio Armani and ELLE magazine partnered tonight to put on an exclusive runway event of their Spring/Summer 2010 collections for men and women. Most of the attendees were longtime Armani customers, and I was impressed that so many of them turned out after work to see the styles. Of course, it is Mr. Armani, so the talent of the designer is a considerable draw even to those tired from working all day. ELLE magazine Style Director, Kate Lanphear was the master of cermonies for the small, intimate event. Kate kicked off the show by acknowledging how the Internet, blogs and the immediacy of information and style knowledge and has made people more educated about fashion. And the tough economy has made those educated consumers more choosy than ever about what they purchase and wear. Although the prices at Armani have not dropped due to the current recession, the designer’s classic style does help to transcend the economic malaise. If you buy Armani, the odds are you’ll be enjoying it for years. In my opinion, Emporio Armani has always been on trend, but not trendy. There is nothing “faddish” about Armani fashion, and that was clear in the selection of styles shown. According to Ms. Lanphear, Armani style still speaks to customers and in the current economic climate, “its all about investment pieces.” The styles shown, emphasized classic jackets, pants and amazing synthetic fabrics which customers actually got to give the “touch test.”
To extend the life of basic pieces, Ms. Lanphear emphasized the importance of wearing different accessories and shoes. There were plenty of accessories on hand, beautiful statement necklaces, flat sandals, heels, fringed handbags and roped scarves worn as necklaces and Armani’s trademark big “Berlin” sunglasses. For summer, classics for women included white jeans, tuxedo vests or jackets intermixed with tees or basic black shirts. For men, Ms. Lanphear showed off what she called the “Grandpa Chic” look, even acknowledging that some of the men’s styles had an almost “amish look.” Most in the crowd, self included, didn’t really think this was the kind of thing they would pay Armani prices for. One man said he was more likely to buy a basic black shirt with a high foldover neckline and black jacket, than the red colored jacket shown with short pants. Still the colored jacket with the short pants was appealing and well done, as you can see in the picture below. The short pants are just not going to be an investment piece for most men. Ditto the colored jacket.
Of course, to really get the rundown on Armani fashion, I wanted to talk to the people who wear the clothes. After all, for any designer its all about the customer. The amazing thing about Armani is that even though prices are high, the brand enjoys tremendous customer loyalty. Their customer service is also praised by their customers. I asked some of the event attendees, what is the Armani “Why to buy?” Los Angeles resident, Doris Littman told me, ” I shop at Armani because I know it is going to look good and feel good.” She emphasized that she loves how the clothes make her feel. Attendee Patti Ladd had a different reason for shopping Armani. She told me, ” I like Armani because its always classic from one season to the next.”
Of course, being The Recessionista, I had to ask, Ms. Lanphear from ELLE if she recommended any Armani wardrobe staples as “go to ” pieces for those of us on a limited budget. She said, “I think a blazer or jacket is the best piece to choose. And you can mix it with different accessories and shirts to update it.” She also emphasized that Armani offers a variety of blazers from the “boyfriend blazer” to tuxedo jackets, to short jackets. There are many choices to suit customer’s individual styles and proportions. Off the runway, and onto the racks, I had my own style picks! Here are some of my needful things.
As beautiful as it is, most of us, can’t afford to stock our closets full of Mr. Armani. However, they do have sales at Emporio Armani and here’s a little tip on how to find out about them. Follow Emporio Armani Sales (EmpArmaniSales) on Twitter. This Twitter ID is not associated with Armani, but it does give out some great information. Check their sales updates.
As frugal times continue, fashion classics are making a much needed come back and Emporio Armani, and Armani designs, transcend time.