When you say ‘electronics’, you think about Asian countries, when you say coffee, you think about Brasil, when you say ‘watches’, you think about Switzerland, when you say ‘fashion’, it’s mainly Italian and French. Describing fashion and design would not be complete without Giorgio Armani.
Italian designer Giorgio Armani boasts an illustrious career, spanning over 35 years within the fashion industry.
Having launched his namesake label in 1975, the celebrated designer has overseen the growth of his brand into from a signature menswear label to a luxury fashion empire including Giorgio Armani Privé and Emporio Armani apparel lines alongside accessories, footwear, cosmetics and home decor.
Early Life and Career of Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani (born 11 July 1934) is an Italian fashion designer. He is known today for his clean, tailored lines. He formed his company, Armani, in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful designer of Italian origin, with an annual turnover of $1.6 billion and a personal fortune of $8.1 billion as of 2017.
Armani was born to an Italian-Armenian family in the northern Italian town of Piacenza, where he was raised with his older brother Sergio and younger sister Rosanna by his mother Maria Raimondi and father Ugo Armani, an accountant of Armenian origin.
Aspiring to a career in medicine, he enrolled in the Medicine Department of the University of Milano, but 3 years later, in 1953, he left and joined the army. Because of having a medical background, he was assigned in the military Hospital of Verona, but decided to look for a different career path.
His career in the world of clothes’ design and sales started with a job of window dresser at “La Rinascente” store in Milano, in 1957. Later on he became a seller in the menswear department, where he gathered valuable experience in the marketing aspect of the fashion industry.
He turned out to be a skillful designer; his skills were in demand, that’s why during all the 1960s he worked for the Nino Cerutti company, also freelancing in the same time, contributing designs to as many as ten manufacturers at a time.
In the late 1960s, Armani met Sergio Galeotti, an architectural draftsman, which marked the beginning of a personal and professional relationship that lasted for many years.
In 1973, Galeotti persuaded him to open a design office in Milan, at 37 Corso Venezia. This led to a period of extensive collaboration, during which Armani worked as a freelance designer for a number of fashion houses, including Allegri, Bagutta, Hilton, Sicons, Gibò, Montedoro, and Tendresse.
After a series of successful runway shows, he got wide acknowledgment by the international press as well. In the mid-1970s, after having developed his own style in many ways, he was ready to devote all his energy and to his own label.
The foundation of Giorgio Armani S.p.A.
On July 24, 1975, he founded Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in Milan, with his friend Galeotti. In October of that same year, he presented his first collection of men’s ready-to-wear for Spring and Summer 1976 under his own name. He also produced a women’s line for the same season
Armani established an innovative relationship with the fashion industry, characterized by the 1978 agreement with Gruppo Finanzario Tessile (GFT), which made it possible to produce luxury ready-to-wear in a manufacturing environment under the attentive supervision of the company’s designer.
In 1979, after founding the Giorgio Armani Corporation, Armani began producing for the United States and introduced the Mainline for men and women. The label became one of the leading names in international fashion with the introduction of several new product lines, including G. A. Le Collezioni, Giorgio Armani Underwear and Swimwear, and Giorgio Armani Accessories.
In the early 1980s, the company signed an important agreement with L’Oréal to create perfumes and introduced the Armani Junior, Armani Jeans, and Emporio Armani lines, followed in 1982 by the introduction of Emporio Underwear, Swimwear, and Accessories.
A new store was opened in Milan for the Emporio line, followed by the first Giorgio Armani boutique. Armani’s concern for the end user culminated in the development of a more youthful product with the same level of stylistic quality as his high-end line, but at a more accessible price.
Armani also realized the importance of using non-conventional advertising methods such as TV spots, enormous street ads, a magazine sent out by mail to consumers, as well as establishing a solid relationship with the cinema world.
As a result, Armani designed costumes for a series of movies, including “American Gigolo” in 1980, and “The Untouchables” in 1987 – one of the most important.
- In 1996 his long-time friend Eric Clapton composed some songs for Armani’s fashion shows and has since dressed in Armani. Later that year Clapton opened two Emporio Armani stores in New York City. In 1998 Armani hosted a party for Clapton Crossroads guitar auction.
- He also prepared to break into the Chinese market by opening up his first store in that country in 1998. The small shop in Beijing was followed by a flagship store in Shanghai in 2004 and plans for 40 by 2011.
- In 2008, Armani designed the bullfighting costume, called the “Goyesco”, worn by Spanish bullfighter Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez at the “Corrida Goyesca” in Ronda, Spain. They have also collaborated on several fashion shows and other events.
- As of 2009, Armani has a retail network of 60 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 11 Collezioni, 122 Emporio Armani, 94 A/X Armani exchange, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessori, and 13 Armani Junior stores spread over 37 different countries.
- After model Ana Carolina Reston starved herself to death in 2006, because of anorexia nervosa, Armani became the first designer to ban models with a Body Mass Index below 18.
- All of Armani’s collection shows are broadcasted live on the Internet, with the first broadcast being in 2007.
- Armani also teamed up with Samsung to design the Giorgio Armani phone, following the introduction of the LG Prada phone in 2006.
Giorgio Armani in Hotel Interior Design
Giorgio Armani is also involved in interior design in the world of luxury hotels. He and Herrera Global signed an agreement in 2005 building and operating at least seven luxury hotels and three vacation resorts under the Giorgio Armani name. Giorgio Armani would be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the interior design and style of the hotels.
The Armani Hotel was opened in Burj Khalifa in 2010, comprising the bottom 39 floors of the supertall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has 160 guest rooms and suites, and 144 residences. Giorgio Armani is also designing the interiors of the Armani Residences, also within the skyscraper.
Giorgio Armani also has a keen interest in sports. Besides being a fan of the Inter Milano football team, he also is the president of the Olimpia Milano basketball team. He designed suits for several sportsmen and team, including England’s national team, Chelsea, the Italian flagbearer’s suit at the Winter Olympics in 2006, Italy’s Olympic uniforms for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
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