Image by MIKI Yoshihito (´･ω･)
Giorgio Armani began his career as a window dresser but is now Italy’s most successful fashion designer, worth $9 billion. And with his designs making their way onto the red carpet, the big screen, Olympic stadiums and ordinary streets across the globe, you could say that he now window dresses the world.
In his home country, he’s a symbol of signature Italian style and the go-to guy for all things fashion. He dressed the Italian Olympic team for the 2012 games, uniforms for the Italian police and Milanese taxi drivers, and has even designed a book cover of gospels for the Pope.
Now in his 80s, this octogenarian is still as active as ever. George Clooney chose him to design a suit for his wedding this September and he has also designed suits for the Chelsea football team – although when it comes to the ‘beautiful game’, his heart lies with Inter Milan.
Why it’s Hard to Imagine the Fashion World Without Him
Giorgio Armani at Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, Milan, image by br1dotcom
His influence on the fashion world is phenomenal – from his hand in crafting the now iconic bomber jacket, to his signature soft-shouldered suit silhouette, Giorgio Armani holds court in the pages of fashion history, alongside other Italian fashion greats such as Valentino and Versace.
Under Giorgio an empire has grown and grown, and there are now ten labels under the Armani umbrella: Giorgio Armani Privé, Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Armani Collezioni, AJ | Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Junior, Armani Teen, Armani Baby and Armani Casa.
So what’s the secret behind decades of luxury design? It’s the man himself, Giorgio Armani.
Here we take a look at the history of the man behind the brand:
Born in Piacenza, Italy, Giorgio grew up in a small town. He had ambitions to become a doctor but also big dreams of the glamorous world of Hollywood.
By 21, Giorgio had already taken a place at med school but in 1953, he took a break from his studies to complete his military service.
This is the year that Giorgio’s passion for fashion returned. After several years in the army, Giorgio takes a break to visit Milan and is excited by this fashionable capital and its equally stylish residents.
Giorgio’s fashion career begins. He starts designing for Nicole Cerruti’s Hitman label and the experience teaches him the importance of tailoring and attention to detail.
After several years designing for the men’s label, Cerruti, Giorgio starts to design his first menswear pieces in his own name, which included the now iconic leather bomber jacket.
Spurred on by the success of his bomber jackets, Giorgio sells his Volkswagen so that he can finance his own office space in Milan.
This was an important year for Giorgio, as it was the beginning of his menswear label, in partnership with Sergio Galeotti.
Despite launching the label the previous year, it wasn’t until July, 1975 that the Giorgio Armani SpA revealed the full menswear collection. A few months later, the womanswear line was also added to the Armani label. Amazingly, during this time, Giorgio was still designing for Zegna and Ungaro.
By the following year, Giorgio was already thinking big. Taking the Armani label to America, Giorgio signs a deal with Barneys, New York.
The Armani label enters Hollywood in style on the red carpet for the Oscars. Diane Keaton arrives wearing an elongated Armani couture blazer, which wows the fashion press.
Richard Gere’s performance in American Gigolo, dressed heat-to-toe in Armani captures the public imagination and cements Armani’s reputation as a designer to watch.
The Armani collection expands to include a more casual range, Armani Jeans, which offers Armani style and quality for less. This was the first time that Armani imperial eagle was seen on jeans and t-shirts. Alongside the casual range, Giorgio also introduced Emporio Armani, which offered higher-end range of clothing.
Giorgio became the first fashion designer since Christian Dior to feature on the cover of Time Magazine.
The hugely popular 80s crime drama, Miami Vice, features one Armani suit after another.
Sergio Galeotti, Giorgio’s long-term business partner and lover passes away. Giorgio takes on his business duties and becomes the sole owner of the brand.
Giorgio Armani is invited to appear in America’s Saturday Night Live television programme as the ‘Italian Prime Minister’ in what was an incredibly popular episode.
Acqua di Gio, image by mikephotoart
The brand’s first ecommerce site, Armani Exchange was launched in the USA.
The life and work of Giorgio is honoured with a retrospective at the Guggenheim, New York. In the same year, the Armani Collezioni is launched which aims to combine the elegance of Armani tailoring with a contemporary style.
EA7, a line of sports-influenced clothing, shoes and accessories was launched under the Emporio Armani label.
The haute couture Armani Privé was launched.
In support of RED (the global fund in the fight against AIDS in Africa), Armani designed the RED capsule collection, including clothing, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewellery and fragrances.
Armani launches a concept store in Tokyo, Armani: Ginza Tower, which featured Armani’s first spa. 2010 2010 was an action-packed year for Giorgio. To start with, he was named ‘Best Designer’ at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. He then went onto open the first Armani hotel in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, combining his elegant, minimal style with a luxurious service. He later also added a hotel in Milan to his stylish travel empire.
2010 was an action-packed year for Giorgio. To start with, he was named ‘Best Designer’ at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. He then went onto open the first Armani hotel in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, combining his elegant, minimal style with a luxurious service. He later also added a hotel in Milan to his stylish travel empire.
The Armani Hotel Dubai, image by Infernal elf
This year also saw the release of Armani Dolci, a range of confectionary.
Giorgio designed the Princess of Monaco’s wedding dress. The jaw-dropping design was decorated by 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops.
Giorgio Amani turned 80 this year. He’s still the most successful Italian designer ever and his profits continue to rise year on year, so what’s next for Armani?
Armani is an exciting brand that never fails to surprise and delight both the fashion world, and decades of shoppers who want to wear the famous logo. While Armani has expanded into accessories, fragrances, and even opening luxury hotels, one thing remains the same: a commitment to minimal and elegant European style.
If you want a bit Armani style in your life, browse the full Armani Jeans range here. What’s your favourite Armani Jeans item this season? Let us know in the comments.