There’s a shoe in the Giorgio Armani autumn/winter accessory collection that looks like it has been caught in a soot storm. Or at least got caked in mud that dried out so long ago it has turned a greyish white. There are gloves, too. Gloves that are missing the tops of the thumbs and index fingers. Could it be that Mr Armani has been watching Home Alone in search of winter-weather inspiration? Looked to Harry and Marv for new ways of glove wearing? Or has he, quite simply, heeded to the words of Jacobim Mugatu and decided that now is the time to show us Derelicte! Show us that it is not only a fashion, but also a way of life inspired by the homeless, the vagrants and crack whores, who make our wonderful cities so unique. As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, must we now become Derelicte? Well, no, not exactly. This is Armani – standards must be maintained. The shoe, for example, is the mirror image in shape of the black leather buckle brogue. Both have been crafted by a kindly gentleman who has been making shoes since he was in a womb, or even earlier. That sole has been hand stitched to that upper. The grey-mesh covering is probably some fine wool from a sheep in Scotland, or maybe Wales. You see, even if Mr Armani was taking his sartorial references from Derelicte, nothing he creates could ever be Derelicte. Even a glove with a missing fingertip or two comes across as a well-thought-out design innovation. Most of us have a touch-screen phone nowadays. In winter, when glove wearing becomes rampant, such phones are tricky to use. Remove a fingertip from a glove and, suddenly, you can dial away without having to get chilly hands. Even the bags, modelled on a mini fabric case of the kind tramps might use to transport their belongings from one doorstep to another, should they wake to find their shopping trolleys stolen, have been re-created in the finest crocodile and come with a handy zip pocket on the front in which items such as newspapers can be stowed, allowing you easy access to them should the weather turn colder and you wish to stuff the pages inside your jacket for insulation. Not that you would need to if you were wearing an Armani coat. It would be warm enough in itself and would probably feature a clever design tick, such as being lined in a fabric that can affect the crackle of a newspaper but actually offer the protection of sheepskin. For that is the beauty of Mr Armani’s designs. Understated. Unshowy. Unassuming. But one look, one feel and you know that it’s luxury of the highest order. Which is why, at first glance of a PDF look book, one might assume that this is Derelicte, but no. This is so much better.
by Natalie Dembinska