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GIORGIO ARMANI

The famous Giorgio Armani is a world-renowned Italian fashion designer who gained critical
acclaim and international attention for his designer work, especially in men’s fashions, and for
his clean, perfectly tailored lines. However, he wasn’t always interested in or involved in design
work.

Life History

Armani, born on July 11, 1934, in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, first studied science, then
pursued photography until he was called for national service in 1957, after which he worked as a
window dresser for La Rinascente, a department store. Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion
designer, particularly noted for his menswear. He is known today for his clean, tailored lines.
Characteristically clad in jeans, a white shirt opened at the neck, and a navy cotton pullover,
designs new fashions in his 16th-century palazzo in Milan. He was a recipient of the coveted
Neiman Marcus Award and has built an international reputation--as well as a fortune--on his
revolutionary, unstructured jacket for men.

He then began working as a designer in the Nino Cerruti fashion house for almost the entire
duration of the 1960s. In 1970 he left in order to freelance, and by 1974, he had partnered up
with Sergio Galeotti to create and release his first line, Giorgio Armani S.P.A., for menswear. A
year later he introduced a line for women’s wear.

From 1961 to 1970, Armani worked as an assistant designer at a fashion house Nino Cerruti,
where he designed for the menswear label "Hitman". In 1970, he left the company to pursue
freelance work. He partnered with Sergio Galeotti to establish a menswear label Armani in 1974,
and introduced a womenswear line in 1975. His sister Rosanna Armani subsequently joined him.
Galeotti died of a heart attack due to AIDS in 1985 at his home in Milan.

Armani’s sister, Rosanna Armani, also a designer, eventually joined him and Galeotti in the
company. Galeotti was a part of the label for fifteen years until he died in 1985.

Armani soon became famous for working, designing, and tailoring for big Hollywood actors and
some actresses in the later 1970s and into the 1980s, most notably for Richard Gere for his 1980
breakthrough role as escort Julian Kaye in the hit dramatic/romantic thriller American Gigolo,
co-starring Lauren Hutton and Hector Elizondo.

Armani, whose relaxed designs for women are inspired by men's wear, also uses men's wear
fabrics in his sophisticated, unstructured jackets and suits for women. With this approach,
Armani has established a new standard of understated elegance: easy-fit garments for women,
precisely cut and beautifully tailored. He is known as a workaholic, who can sometimes be rude
and arrogant. His dislike of fellow Italian designers Gianni Versace and Valentino has recently
been supressed for the benefit of the international press. In May, 1996, Armani was convicted of
corruption in Italy, among other fellow designers like Ferre.

Career

He formed his company, Armani, in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful
designer to come out of Italy, with an annual turnover of $1.600 billion, and a personal fortune of
$5 billion. Fashion Designer Giorgio Armani was born on July 11, 1934, in Piacenza, about 50
miles south of Milan, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. He attended medical school for two
years, dabbled in photography, fulfilled his military obligations in 1957, then worked in a
prestigious department store, La Rinascente, as a window dresser. He joined Nino Cerruti as a
designer from 1961 to 1970. Armani began a free-lance design business in 1970 with the
encouragement of his close friend Sergio Galeotti, and established his own men's wear label in
1974. He gradually adapted his designs for women and added a women's wear line in 1975, in
partnership with Galeotti (who passed away in 1985). His sister Rosanna Armani teamed up with
Armani as head of communication activities of the company.

In April of 1982 Time magazine featured Giorgio Armani on its cover. Armani's first radically
different blazer appeared in the fashion world under his own label between 1974 and 1975. His
sartorial style exhibited a decidedly relaxed, even rumpled look. The designer softened these new
jackets by pulling out the padding and lining and leaving out stiffeners of any kind. He combined
thinner lapels with baggier pockets and longer jackets. "Armani's unstructured look makes even
his English wool suits feel as comfortable as silk pajamas," observed a writer for People
magazine. And in Esquire, Rita Hamilton credited Armani's suit jackets with "the kind of shape
that defied the proper Italian establishmentarian look and mirrored the defiant, angry mood of
political and social unrest." But, as American designer Donna Karan put it in the New York
Times Magazine, "fashion evolves." And Armani's designs did change by the end of the 1970s.

Creating what would eventually be known as the "wedge-shaped power suit," Armani extended
the shoulders and even added padding to them. The lapels were widened, and the broadest point
of the lapel, called the gorge, was lowered. The effect was similar to a style once worn by
Hollywood sex symbols like Clark Gable. Still casual and comfortable, the new style was what
the New York Times called a "second sartorial innovation" that endowed men with a "broad-
shouldered, slim-hipped glamour."

In 1980, Giorgio Armani USA offered the American market a hybrid of the two styles. His more
fluid sport coats of the first half of the decade could be compared to cardigan sweaters, with
comfortable, sloping shoulders. These jackets were teamed up with T-shirts for a studied,
informal look. The unmistakable Armani style evolved into an even more simplified version of
the original groundbreaking blazer. In his spring 1990 women's collection, Armani "called
attention to the generous flow of jackets by stripping them of superfluous detail," wrote Dan
Lecca in the New York Times Magazine.

In his spring 1990 women's collection, Armani "called attention to the generous flow of jackets
by stripping them of superfluous detail," wrote Dan Lecca in the New York Times Magazine.

Armani's feminine version of the menswear jacket looked like it was borrowed from Greta
Garbo's closet, or so imply some fashion critics. "My first jackets for women were in fact men's
jackets in women's sizes," he told Time magazine. But it's Armani's use of strategically modified
menswear fabrics and tailoring in women's suit jackets that is his "special contribution," stated
Geraldine Stutz, president of Henri Bendel department store in New York City, in the same
publication. "No one had ever done that before." While the jacket forms the foundation of the
Armani empire, the Italian designer does create a variety of other garments as well. In 1982, for
example, his fall collection featured felt hats, gaucho pants, and light suede hooded sweatshirts
in what were described as "jelly bean" colors. Jackets were gold lamé for evening and longer for
daytime wear. Fabrics included silk-lined cotton and mixtures of velvet, silk, wool, and linen, in
a plethora of patterns and stripes. Whatever Armani chooses to offer in a collection, he is praised
for that sense of relaxed comfort.

"It's the fit of the armhole," pinpointed Dawn Mello in Vogue. And "somehow his clothes never
seem to wrinkle." The man with the steel-blue eyes is not only a brilliant designer, he is also an
astute business man. A writer for Forbes magazine noted that, in general, Armani "sets prices to
maximize profits rather than minimize output." The company Giorgio Armani SpA made $350
million in the international market in 1988, $90 million of which came from the United States.
The designer has targeted several different markets while maintaining high profit margins. In
Italy, Vestimenta sells the priciest line for Giorgio Armani Via. In 1988 it was possible to spend
$1,800 for one of Armani's best American suits for men. Blouses ran for between $30 and $400,
and blazers ranged from $650 to $800, made by Gruppo GFT. Designed for the 20-years-old-
and-up crowd, the Armani label appeared on less pricey suits and sport coats: $700 and $360
respectively.

To capture the younger market, Armani opened a line of stores called Emporio (or Emporium, in
English), first in Italy, then in the United States. These boutiques debuted in 1981 to offer quality
designs for slimmer pocketbooks.

Local merchandise produced in quantity kept the prices low. For example, in 1982 a leather
jacket could be purchased for between $250 to $300, skirts went for from $40 to $60, and
blouses were priced at around $35. Jay Cocks wrote in Time magazine that "One would be hard
put to tell the difference, in fact, between a leather jacket from the Emporium and one from the
couture line, without resort to the price tag; an X ray would come in handy too." Armani first
stocked the Emporio with jeans, T-shirts, and brightly colored cotton bomber jackets. Many of
these items were made of extra fabrics from the design studio. And despite the Armani eagle
logo (i.e., his initials form an eagle), this clothing had a decided American flair to it: It was even
referred to as "Rafaelo Laureno" after Ralph Lauren in the United States. But this style evolved,
too, and became more truly Armani. He added dressier and more classic selections, borrowed
from his couture line--but at a fraction of the cost. And the jackets alone became available in 250
fabrics and 25 styles by 1989. In that year, Armani opened an Emporio on New York City's Fifth
Avenue offering many more items than just clothes.
Giorgio Armani has a keen interest in sports. He is the president of the Olimpia Milano
basketball team and an Inter Milan fan, and twice designed suits for the England national football
team. He has since designed suits worn by players of the London club Chelsea since August
2007. He designed the Italian flag bearers' outfits at the opening ceremony at the 2006 Winter
Olympics in Turin. Armani also designed and introduced the EA7 range, a brand inspired by
Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, who at the time played for AC Milan and wore number
7 jersey.

Products and Achievements

Sales of the Armani-Group in 1994 amounted to 1270 billion Lira ($787 million), up 12.4% from
1993. Garments accounted for about 850 billion Lira ($527 million), and accessories for about
420 billion Lira ($260 million). In 1996, the group sales, including sales from licensed products
rose to about 2000 billion Lira ($1.3 billion). The Armani-Group also includes the sportswear
company Simint, which handles all of Armani's informal lines. Armani himself holds 53% of the
Simint assets. Simint was rated the best perfoming stock at the Milan exchange, with an annual
increase of 219% with respect to the stock price. While Simint produces the Armani Jeans line,
the Armani Junior label and the Emporio Armani men's wear, the Emporio women's clothes are
produced by the Antinea (sales in 1996: 150 billion Lira), a 100% Armani offspring. Giorgio
Armani S.p.A. develops the Armani labels. In 1993, Giorgio Armani S.p.A. showed a 30%
growth in sales to 695 billion Lira ($442 million), thus doubling its sales figures of 1990. Two
years later sales were at 960 billon Lira ($590 million), increasing another 25% to 1200 billion
Lira ($778 million) in 1996. Pre-tax profits for the Giorgio Armani S.p.A. marked 325 billion
Lira($211million).

The biggest export market for Armani is the United States, where Armani labels are sold at
12,000 points of sale. In 1995, Armani had 36 outlets carrying the exclusive Giorgio Armani and
Borgonuovo-21 lines. Emporio Armani outlets numbered 119 in 1995, with 54 in Italy and 22 in
Japan. This figure rose to 121 stores in 1997 and is planned to be increased by 8 in the near
future. A/X Armani Exchange used to be sold only in the United States. In 1994, the A/X-stores
were taken over by Club 21 USA, Inc., but continuesly struggled to compete with lower-priced
competitors like Banana Republic. Today, Armani intends to open up even more A/X-outlets,
also introducing them to customers in Asia for the first time.

The main Armani lines are produced by Italy's largest manufacturer of designer garments,
Gruppo GFT. Armani garments account for about 30% of GFT sales and are therefore GFT's
most important license. In 1994, Armani tried to take over GFT with the help of American
investors, presumably to help out Armani's sportswear affiliate, Simint, which had gotten into
financial trouble at the time. Simint is now recovering, after cutting its staff, changing its
distribution structure, and concentrating its production in Italy. An economic turnaround could
be achieved, which resulted in 1995/1996 in sales of 255 billion Lira ($160 million) and turning
a loss of 24 billion Lira ($16 million) in the previous year to a net profit 5.4 billion Lira ($3.5
million). Sales for the fiscal year 1996/1997 are expected to be 180 billion Lira ($117 million).
Armani is said to be interested in expanding his own production capabilities. For that purpose,
Armani is expected either to shift the production of his main lines from GFT to Simint or
Antinea or he might take over stock from GFT, who are expected to make such an offer in order
to keep their most profitable client. In late 1996, Armani announced that from now on clothing
under the Armani Jeans-label will heed to tight environmental standards, introducing a range of
clothing items which will be made out of hamp.

Among the Armani accessories, the eye-wear collection appears to enjoy continuous success.
The Armani glasses are produced since 1988 by the Italian designer eye-wear specialist
Luxottica and exclusively sold in eye-wear speciality stores and Armani boutiques.

Armani wants to expand the number of his stores significantly. Most visibly, he opened up two
huge flagship stores in New York City on Madision Avenue, one for the top line and one for
Emporio Armani. Armani seemingly pursues the establishment of a lifestyle brand "Armani".
This movement is refelcted in the various attempts to offer a wide variety of products under the
Armani-label. Such as the in 1996 introduced Armani Neve winter sportswear line, the Armani
Golf sportswear line (both produced previously by Skinea and now by Simint), and the
introduction of custom-made bridal gowns, as part of the Borgonuovo-21 line. Also, Classico, a
new luxurious and costly line for men and women will be introduced. Here, Armani wants to
offer modern interpretations of classic designs. In addition, Armani sells a wide range of home
accessories under the Emporio Armani-label. In 1997, the first Armani Jeans store in Rome, Italy
also included a Armani book shop, selling publications about various artistic subjects, like
fashion and photography.

Selected Awards and Recognitions
* Neiman-Marcus Award (1979)
* CFDA International Award (1983)
* The semi-annual Italian men's fashion trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence celebrated in
Summer 1996 its 50th fair with a magnificent fashion show called "G.A.Story" portaying the life
and work of Giorgio Armani. The show concept was developed by well-known opera-director
Robert Wilson.

Armani opened his first restaurant in the U.S., Armani/Ristorante. The restaurant opened in New
York in February 2009 and has been rated by the Zagat Survey.

Armani Privé

Armani's haute couture line made history being the first haute couture Paris fashion show to be
streamed live online. The label is strictly made to wear and only available for purchase in
selected stores such as Harrods at a high price.

Armani Cosmetics

The beauty brand by Armani features cosmetics, skin care, perfumes, and colognes. It is
produced and distributed by the luxury division of L'Oreal, with which Armani has a long-term
partnership agreement. It is available at many department stores worldwide and has very few
boutiques. Armani also invests in the fine dining industry. Throughout the world, he has 14
Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans cafes. There is also an Armani Bar in Hong Kong and his
two new restaurants, NoBu & Prive, are found worldwide. He also has a bookshop (Armani
Libri) and a florist (Armani Fiori) under the Armani name and a confectionery company known
as Armani Dolci. These smaller brands are mostly sold within larger Armani shops, like the
Milan flagship, 31 via Manzoni, and at the Armani/Chater House at 11 Chater Road, Central,
Hong Kong. He also did 4 lucky Cds "Emporio Armani Caffè" with the famous Italian sound
designer Matteo Ceccarini.

Armani Hotels

Armani and Emaar Properties signed an agreement in 2004 for Emaar Hotels to build and
operate at least seven luxury hotels and three vacation resorts under the Armani name. Armani
would be responsible for overseeing all aspects the interior design and style of the hotels. One of
their famous hotels is located in Dubai.

The bottom 37 floors of the Burj Dubai skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will house
the world's first Armani Hotel. Giorgio Armani is also designing the interiors of the 160 Armani
Residences, also within the skyscraper, and its specially designed line of products from the
Armani/Casa home furnishings collection.

The Burj Dubai Armani Residences Road Show toured Milan, London, Jeddah, Moscow and
Delhi. The exhibition was designed by Brash Brands winning an International Design Award for
its Signs, Exhibits and Point of Purchase (POP) Displays. The London event was housed in the
Armani Casa Showroom in New Bond Street.

Armani said the company had experienced growth across all geographic areas, product lines and
brands. Europe and North America both saw double-digit growth of 11 percent and 10 percent
respectively, followed by the Far East with 9 percent growth. Jewellery outperformed other
categories by far with 41 percent growth, followed by eyewear with 20 percent and watches with
17 percent. The company's children's wear brand Armani Junior grew 26 percent, while its
lifestyle brand A|X Armani Exchange grew 17 percent. In a statement, Armani founding
president and chief executive Giorgio Armani highlighted the ongoing worldwide expansion of
the A|X Armani Exchange brand, which includes new markets such as Brazil , Indonesia and the
United Arab Emirates . He ... emphasized the growth of the accessories business, for which the
company now has a wholesale distribution of 1,100 doors. He pointed out the strength of the
licensed products “which are now benefiting from a successful market re-positioning” and the
“fast-track retail expansion programme within the travel and duty free sector.”
The gorgeous new Armani Exchange underwear campaign has made a huge splash across the
gay virtual community and sites such as Rod 2.0. Undoubtedly, much of the success is due to the
gorgeous face and body branding the campaign—Clint Mauro.

A|X Armani Exchange is pushing its international expansion into new markets. Today the hip,
young brand opens its first store in, in Abu Dhabi , and next month it will open two boutiques in
Brazil , in Sao Paolo and in Rio de Janeiro . It will be the brand's first foray into the South
American and Middle Eastern markets.

INSPIRATION
Dolce & Gabbana soon found they shared a lot of the same idols and influences. Although
Stefano comes from Northern Italy, they both claim their principal influence is the
Mediterranean. Stefano's admiration stems from watching old Italian movies with Southern
Italian actresses like Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, whose voluptuous bodies are
constrained by tight suits, stockings and suspenders. Adoration and glorification of the female
physique is the departure point for all of Dolce & Gabbana's female collections - they have been
quoted as saying that breasts are the point of departure for all their designs! Domenico's
experience of the Mediterranean is first hand. He remembers the tight Sunday-best suits when he
went to church, not to mention his own mother, who unconventionally used to dress in men's
pinstripes. Even ideas for Dolce & Gabbana's menswear are essentially Italian in origin. They
confess to being influenced by the films of the fifties by directors like Roberto Rossellini and
Luchino Visconti. They also claim to be inspired by the photos of Enzo Sellerio as well as by
Giuseppe Lampedusa's prose.