Milan's fashion flies high with Emporio airport show and Robbie Williams

MILAN (Reuters) - Emporio Armani touched the sky with its spring summer 2019 collection by showcasing the fresh and airy looks on the runway of Milan’s Linate Airport and ending the night with a performance by British pop artist Robbie Williams.

Thousands of guests on Thursday had to check-in, pass security and be escorted by airport staff to reach a shiny black runway built on the airport’s tarmac, in the hottest ticket of Milan’s fashion week.

As the night fell on the show, planes landed in the background, some even parking close to the temporary fashion venue.

Williams wore a sparkling black tuxedo coat matched with a pleated skirt and black sneakers - “can you imagine Armani’s face when I emailed him what I wanted to wear?” the singer told the ecstatic crowd.

The artist entertained the cheering and dancing audience with his greatest hits, including his latest single “I Love My Life”, as well as George Michael’s “Freedom.” He dedicated Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to 84-year-old Giorgio Armani, closing the song saying, “You did it your way” and inviting him on stage.

And the extensive Emporio collection that preceded the singer’s show, with hundreds of outfits for both men and women, indeed traveled through the iconic traits of the world-famous designer: easy fits as well as sophisticated looks, the use of different fabrics, both smooth nuances and bold colors, soft feminine cuts and rich details.

Accompanied by the notes of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” a video with an airplane taking off and a bird’s eye view of Milan’s most famous landmarks set the scene for the show. A giant screen surmounting the square catwalk, lined with fluorescent blue lights, projected Emporio Armani adverts.

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Male models, dressed like surfers and carrying their boards, opened the runway show for what was a 20-minute long spectacle of colors, fabrics, shapes and combinations for the new collection of Emporio, one of Giorgio Armani’s clothing lines.

Emporio, which last year absorbed the brands Armani Collezioni and part of Armani Jeans, last September had shun the Milan fashion week, showing its collection in London in the brand’s renovated Bond Street store.

Sports-inspired layered looks, with lightweight windbreakers and anoraks were alternated with casual looks with ankle-high trousers worn under comfortable cotton jumpers. Models carried light backpacks and wore glasses and hats with flat shoes or sneakers on their feet.

Soft hues were broken with black trousers matched with white men’s jackets and sailor-like models wearing blue trousers and wide light blue jumpers with “E” and “A” lettering on them opened the way to brighter colors.

Designs included denim overalls, pastel pink matched with lime green. Classic pinstriped blue suits for him were paired with brightly colored striped short dresses for her.

Deep plunge black dresses with blue fringes and flower embellishments were followed by sparkly green outfits.

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In a merry-go-round of colors and shapes on the catwalk designs seamlessly turned from easy-going outfits to sequined evening wear dresses, in a breathtaking show that appeared like a trip through Armani’s design books over the years.

And like all the best trips, it ended with an airport shuttle bringing you back home.

“Have a wonderful night and keep flying with us”, read an Emporio Armani panel with an eagle logo at the exit of the airport.

Milan Fashion Week runs until Monday with runway shows from luxury group Tod’s, celebrity acclaimed Versace, Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana still to show their collections in the next days.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Lisa Shumaker