Armani is a fashion brand that almost everyone is familiar with, at least by hearsay. But what do we know about the brand’s co-founder, the man who gave it his name?
The fashion house Giorgio Armani S.p.A. has been in business for nearly 50 years. During this time, its related brands have developed. Some of the best known include: Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Armani Jeans, EA7, Armani Junior, Giorgio Armani beauty, Hotels & Resorts, Exchange, Armani Dolci, Fiori and Ristorante. What do we know about one of the founders of this large and multifaceted business machine?
From window dresser to owner of a fashion empire
Giorgio Armani was born on July 11, 1934 in Piacenza, Italy. His family was not connected to the fashion world. Initially, Armani planned his professional future very classically – he wanted to become a doctor. He studied medicine for two years before finally giving up this direction. Another idea for Armani’s professional future was photography. His education in this field was interrupted by his military service in 1953-54.
Armani embarked on a professional path directly related to fashion in his twenties. In 1954 he got a job as a window decorator in the department store chain La Rinascente. He was then promoted to the position of manager. Armani spent a total of seven years at La Rinascente. The next stop in the designer’s career was the Nino Cerruti brand. It was at the Cerruti factory that the young Armani learned the basics of industrial tailoring, techniques and garment production. For several years he worked as a freelance designer for a men’s clothing line.
Encouraged by his life partner Sergio Galeotti, Armani decided in 1970 to leave his previous employer and become self-employed. Initially, the design studio was involved in subcontracting clothes. After four years, a private label called Giorgio Armani officially entered the market and took it by storm. From the beginning, GA was acclaimed by critics and fashion connoisseurs.
It is to Armani that we owe the look of modern suits
Under his own name, Armani focused exclusively on men’s fashion for the first decade of his company’s existence. The first collections dedicated to the fairer sex came out of the GA fashion house only in 1985. The favorite element of Armani’s men’s closet was jackets. It was their modernization that the designer cared most about. Departure from formal, rigid cuts, discarding pillows and linings from the jacket’s construction, and changing the fabrics for more flowing ones. We owe all this to Armani and his long-standing efforts to make them more informal, loose and casual.
The American dream
Paradoxically, it was not in his native Italy or even in Europe, but in the USA that Armani’s career literally exploded. His first spectacular success was a contract with the American department store Barneys. The chain selling luxury goods had exclusive rights to sell clothes designed by Armani.
Giorgio Armani’s collaboration with film studios had a great impact on popularizing the brand. Thanks to these contracts the fashion created by the designer was gaining popularity. Men wanted to look like Richard Gere in “American Gigolo” or the heroes of the TV series “Miami Vice”. The latter is the source of the T-shirt instead of a shirt under a jacket. Today this combination does not surprise anyone – at that time it was an absolute revolution
Fame, wealth and a long life
Giorgio Armani will soon celebrate his 87th birthday. Starting his career as a shop window decorator, he probably did not expect that he would be the owner of an empire worth nearly 10 billion dollars.
In addition to clothing lines for men, women, and children, the business includes accessories, perfumes, interior design, and a chain of luxury hotels and restaurants. One of Armani’s most loyal fans is Leonardo DiCaprio. The actor received an Oscar in an outfit from Armani’s master hand. He also cannot imagine important outings in suits other than those signed as GA.
A titan of work and a warrior for image
Despite his advanced age, Giorgio Armani continues to work. Rumor has it that the designer spends 11 hours a day at work. Armani went through a career crisis only once – after the death of the love of his life and partner Sergio Galeotti. Armani is obsessed with taking care of his image. Even the death of his partner due to AIDS he tried to cover up, explaining his departure by a heart attack.
The struggle for image also has its good sides. Armani was the first designer to introduce casting restrictions when choosing models. The reason for this decision was the tragic death of Ana Carolina Reston, who died of exhaustion, starving herself to maintain an extremely slim figure. Models participating in Armani’s shows are checked for proper BMI.
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