Way before androgyny or gender-bending fashion was, well, fashionable and became a byword for coolness, there was Giorgio Armani. Yes, the Italian designer was all about creating clothes that would become wardrobe classics, but he was also a cultural guru.
Take, for instance, the series of portraits he commissioned photographer Aldo Fallai for in the ’80s. The project was part The Sartorialist, part anthropology project, part lookbook, featuring models dressed in his signature suits and mannish cuts. Suzy Menkes noted: “Above all, the duo captured a new female attitude: She could dare to present herself as an intelligent adult, whether you call an oversize pantsuit, ironing out curves, unisex or androgynous.
But to Armani, this whole unisex business was not just about women in men’s clothing and vice versa. The 81-year-old designer once said: “Androgynous today means that men and women have the same attitude towards what they want to wear … it’s not unisex dressing, but more the idea that you can see a jacket on a woman in this show, which you can just as easily see on a man.”
The brand’s Fall/Winter ’16 New Normal collection, out now in stores, is a great reminder that androgyny is less of a look, but more of an attitude. Think of it as a capsule collection of classics that Armani updates every season. For this latest outing, those classics include small jackets, flowy trousers and cropped trousers in materials like wool, cashmere, silk and cotton. In short, these are pieces that are versatile, long-lasting and what you’ll want to wear.