On Feb. 27, Giorgio Armani commenced his show with a voice relaying a message from the designer in English: “My decision not to use any music in the show was made as a sign of respect towards the people involved in the unfolding tragedy.” An enveloping hush fell on Via Borgonuovo’s small underground runway, as the models descended into a noiseless saunter to begin the show. As the cameras panned to capture the clothing, a glimpse of sadness could be seen on the audience’s faces in the background.
Demonstrators in Milan have begun to make their presence known during Fashion Week; capitalizing on its international reach to protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two Ukrainian students stood outside Milan’s fashion shows holding “No World War III” and “No Putin” signs to draw attention to the conflict in their country. Along with other anti-Putin protestors, such as Max Mara, holding a piece of cardboard that said “No War In Ukraine.” Today, Armani joined them, becoming the first designer to directly use a fashion presentation during Milan F/W to censure Russia.
Giorgio Armani’s fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection began with an assortment of velvet and refined textiles. Midnight shades coalesced with glistening silvers on waists cinched by belts and tight blazers. Armani’s collection emphasized woven overlays, some with shoulders sharply tailored while others draped casually, some even threatening to slip off. His designs featured intriguing 3D-esque cubic patterns on shrugs, which were contrasted with mock neck plush coats and debonair men’s suits. The newly unveiled collection resembled a languid take on a jazz-inspired era.
According to Vogue, during the start of the pandemic in February 2020, Armani’s brand was the first to cancel a show due to COVID-19 concerns. Armani has always been conscious of his platform and continues to make use of it by showing sensitivity and empathy to the citizens of Ukraine.
“What could I do?” he wrote in an email to Vogue. “I could only signal my heartbeat for the tragedy through the silence. I didn’t want show music. The best thing is to give a signal that we’re not happy, to recognize [that] something disturbing is happening.”
Disturbing events are happening indeed. All one can do in this world riddled with grief and violence is hope that humanity and compassion will triumph in the end. It’ll be interesting to see whether Armani will influence other designers presenting at Paris Fashion Week (March 1-8) to do the same.
Giorgio Armani’s collection and tribute to Ukraine embody the quiet strength of a man with an unmistakable moral compass.
Our hearts go out to anyone impacted by the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine.