Armani reminds us that quiet luxury is not dead, it is changing

Armani reminds us that quiet luxury is not dead, it is changing

Everyone thinks it is dead, but it is the market trend that sells the most. We are talking about quiet luxury, which resists in some collections despite always being considered close to the end. But if some designers have made it into a flag, Giorgio Armani above all, others have come to it after the pandemic. More than quiet luxury (a definition that many do not like), however, we are talking about a personal idea of style and the perception that consumers have of it. Above all, what weighs heavily is the authenticity of a brand – which depends primarily on the collections.

Armani’s definition

In recent years, the trade press has spoken of the birth (and recently the death) of quiet luxury. A minimalist, whispery, undecorated type of fashion. A market trend that, despite everything, seems to continue to reward the very brands that have chosen to bring it into their collections. In an interview with U by la Repubblica, Giorgio Armani emphasised how he does not share the obsession with always looking for a new way in fashion. “I like subtle things, discretion, the elegance that comes from intelligence”, are his words. “I am certain that sobriety is always a winning quality. But why should we think we move when designing disproportionate shoulders?”.

Why stillness

Armani’s idea of elegance is unequivocal. But how did we come to talk so much about quiet luxury? One answer could be the contrast with streetwear. Before the pandemic, the market was saturated with products that responded to the logic of the logo: the more you see, the better. The luxury world, again, was divided. On the one hand, brands have tried to be as reassuring as in the past, returning to a focus on cuts and materials. On the other, contamination was sought. It is no coincidence, for example, that one of Alessandro Michele’s last collections for Gucci was precisely in collaboration with Adidas.

And after the pandemic?

It should be added that the conversation on quiet luxury should be read in parallel with that on ready-to-wear. Lines born as a response to haute couture, but which do not share its margins of creativity on the catwalk, rather they suffer the commercial pressure of the boutique outcome. Put another way, they must not amaze, but they must sell. Returning to the design of the collections, the personality of the creator comes into play. Armani is Armani because, since 1974, he had a recognisable style that is perceived as authentic. It is not as easy for emerging brands or designers who are coming to the test of a creative direction: from their perspective, it is more immediate to characterise themselves through maximalism. And then there is the role of narrative.

In this respect, Prada proves that if the pieces in a collection are embedded in a narrative, they become must-haves despite simple, clean lines. The key word is: authenticity. Quiet luxury is therefore not dead, but is changing face, becoming true luxury. The test-bench to understand where we stand, however, is Alessandro Michele’s first collection for Valentino: in September we will find out if luxury has decided to raise its voice.

Photos by Giorgio Armani

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