For this season's collection, Giorgio Armani remixed staples with an updated twist here and there. Ease has been a major calling card of his since he first arrived on the fashion stage nearly four decades ago. The show opened with a very serious coat contradicted by gray flannel trousers cut like track pants, and closed with a group of evening clothes in black velvet that were casual enough to make the transition from red carpet to gym. The designer's ability to knock the stuffing out of the conventional remains untainted by time. A black leather top peeked out from under a windowpane-checked jacket, a double-breasted jacket was as soft as a cashmere cardigan, and the stripe down a trouser leg could have equally connoted tuxedo or, again, tracksuit. He's adapted his silhouette -trousers were slightly pegged; jackets were shorter, with a dropped lapel- and he continued with the longer coats that were a hit at Emporio Armani. But the lush monochrome of the palette -this time, every shade of gray, from elephant to dove- is an enduring staple. Likewise the wry humor, here expressed in a sarong printed with one of his most famous publicity shots. You don't think he's laughing ? OK, that's nothing new, but for both collections it was expressed with a quietly forceful confidence. And there weren't any wayward eccentricities to interfere with the message.