"Downton Abbey" mania has affected Giorgio Armani. And there is no way to avoid talking about it, because the designer opted for the TV series' theme song, "The Suite" by The Chamber Orchestra of London, to set the tone of much of his mens fall winter show.
Two by two they went, modernized Matthew Crawley look-alike models with a Lady Mary at his side. If the power couple had been reborn into today's crazy world, Armani's garments may have been a good fit for their silver spoon taste.
A Yorkshire color palette of pine green, grey, Atlantic Ocean blue and burgundy, was splashed on velvet blazers and neckties, as well as high-waisted, pleated 1930's inspired trousers that taper at the calf.
In terms of accessories and footwear, low-rise hiking boots, gloves and brown leather totes and crocodile skin sacks pointed to Britain's hunting culture.
Many of the looks were a cross pollination of fabrics, colors, and lasered details, which infused the collection with a sense of lightness.
Winter motif and cashmere cardigans and droopy, turtleneck sweaters were matched with double-breasted blazers.
As in many of Armani's collections, at one point, the tempo raced, and the East met the West. Fitted blazers with rounded lapels and slim silhouettes were just as fitting for a Japanese businessman as for an enlightened Italian one. This time Armani's fashions, however, nodded to the Ottoman Empire. Emperor collared jackets, oriental rug-colored cropped sweaters, matched with fez-like caps, and fur capes were reminiscent of the silk trade and the Byzantine merchant bazaars of Constantinople.
As in the history of textiles, the cultural exchange between Asia and Europe has survived millennia. With this collection, Armani shows us in his own long merchant history that he takes the best of both worlds -- and there is a lot more where that came from.