For 40 years Emporio Armani has been setting an agenda for clothing that was a blend of luxury and lifestyle needs. Even before we knew the term athleisure, Emporio Armani was designing wardrobes that offered an elevated sense of sportswear and relaxed the codes of formal dressing. To celebrate this achievement, the Italian label has launched a 40 year anniversary edition of the Emporio Armani magazine to accompany their Spring Summer 22 collection.

Emporio Armani
Forty years of being ahead of the game. Image: ARMANI

The collection, and the release of the magazine, coincides with an exhibition taking place in Milan at Armani/Silos. Called “THE WAY WE ARE” was personally curated by Giorgio Armani and looks back at his four decades of innovation with Emporio Armani, but avoids the usual nostalgia. Conceived as a 360-degree takeover of the spaces, the exhibition is a veritable manifesto, to be lived through and experienced the archive continues to look forward, turning 40 years of heritage into a manifesto for the future.

There’s a word for that future – deconstructed. It’s a word that also describes the Emporio Armani approach to menswear. The usual codes of relaxed silhouettes that are an Armani signature are tweaked with sportif detail. Instead of a shirt, a tunic that is paired with pyjama pants – redefining the idea of style that carries both within and outside of the personal space.

Knits are printed with a tattoo-like effect and jackets are worked in linen, jersey and silk to create the light layering that naturally follows the form of the body. Deck shoes are given thick, heavier soles for urban manoeuvrability and anchors the looks.

Emporio Armani celebrates 40 years of the brand with a special edition magazine and exhibition. Image: ARMANI

Fashion’s current evolution into clothing that maximises wearability in multiple situations, rather than distinct looks for key times has been a huge talking point since COVID really began. The idea that clothing should have distinct functions will never entirely go away. But the reaction to fast fashion’s relentless wastage and the questioning by consumers of what they need versus what they want has meant even those designers known for tailoring in the strictest terms are now beginning to soften their line-up.

While some would be tempted to say that this is simply the next stage in the integration nof street culture and athleisure into luxury fashion, remember that this is now 40 years that Emporio Armani has been creating and releasing garments that blend these exact same details. The rest are simply catching up.