A predominantly dark colour palette of black and grey with splashes of electric blue dominates the womenswear collection at Armani Exchange. Sculptural shapes are seen on pleated cocoon skirts and angular dresses, while the nautical trend makes its way into striped shirts, blazers and trousers with blood red blouses adding colour. Polished satin jumpsuits – a key trend in spring 09 – feature alongside satin-sheen peg-leg trousers, which led the trend for the tapered silhouette of autumn 08.
Unlike its competitors, outerwear forms the mainstay of this store’s product mix, with 21 different styles on offer, from leather jackets to soft macs. The collection is mainly smart and made up of separates, although there are some standout dresses on show. Basics are confined to the back of the store, behind two rails displaying the nautical trend. Jeans have their own dedicated wall, with all styles covered.
Mirroring the colour palette, this store is dark but well laid out with clear sections for trends and product categories. The three mannequins inside the shop all wore dark product, which is a shame as there are some gorgeous, more delicate dresses in silk available. The only member of staff seen in store was preoccupied with folding jeans and didn’t question Drapers’ scribbling in a notebook.
A babydoll, silk-mix silver dress is good value at £99 as is the cropped leather jacket for £269, but a soft, wet-look mac is even better at £129. A pleated cocoon skirt with bow and pin-tucked bubble-shaped blouse are both £59, while jeans are excellent for £89. Even vests are just £12. Printed T-shirts are more expensive at £35, but Armani Exchange customers are buying into the brand name so it can get away with it.
It is my first time here but I am impressed with the range and the prices too – I thought it would be more expensive than it is. It seems like good value for money for a piece of Armani.
Barbara Fairfax, 26, student