Italy • Piacenza
Leo • 12 August 2009
Giorgio Armani was born July 11, 1934, in Piacenza, Italy. One of three children, Armani had his heart set on becoming a doctor. After graduating high school, a young Armani headed to medical school at the University of Bologna, but after 2 years he realized that medicine — specifically the sight of blood — was not for him.
With some previous experience in photography and a brief time in the military, Armani was hired as a window-dresser and then a buyer for La Rinescente; Milan’s largest department store. Armed with merchandising experience and a desire to design, Armani was then hired as an assistant designer for Nino Cerruti’s men’s clothing company, Hitman, for 6 years.
It was then time to take his work to a more independent level. Before the Armani line, as we know it today, was established, the man behind the eagle label worked as a freelance designer after having gained experience at Ungaro and Zegna.
In 1975, along with partner Sergio Galeotti, Armani founded his own men’s ready-to-wear line, while the women’s wear followed a year later. It took selling a Volkswagen to help finance the label, which has grown into the billion-dollar industry it is today.
By combining elegance with a sophisticated style, Armani succeeded by giving sports jackets a sportswear feel and making the tailoring less severe. In 1982, Armani became the first fashion designer to appear on the cover of Time magazine since Christian Dior in the 1940s. That caused the ire of fellow Italian designer Valentino, who failed to understand why he was overlooked.
In the early ’80s, Armani saw the potential of getting his designs into movies, when he provided Richard Gere’s wardrobe in 1980’s American Gigolo. Since then, his creations have been seen on the Oscar red carpet and at Hollywood affairs, on celebrities like Jodie Foster, Michelle Pfeiffer, Russell Crowe, Benjamin Bratt, Robert De Niro, and Benicio Del Toro.
The enormous buzz that Armani carried in the ’80s was primarily due to his roster of celebrity clients. He became one of the first designers to actively seek out celebrities to get his name out, beginning with super stylish coach Pat Riley of the Los Angeles Lakers at the time.
Giorgio Armani launched Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans in 1981; Armani women’s perfume in 1982; Armani men’s fragrance in 1984; Notturno telephone (manufactured by Italtel) in 1986; Giorgio Armani Occhiali and Giorgio Armani Calze in 1987; A/X Armani Exchange in 1991; Acqua di Gio women’s perfume, Giorgio Armani Neve (Snow), and Giorgio Armani Golf, all in 1995; and Acqua di Gio men’s fragrance and Giorgio Armani Classico for men and women, in 1996. Armani’s empire also includes swimwear, underwear and accessories, for both men and women.
Today he oversees the Giorgio Armani juggemaut, one of the largest privately owned fashion reported to be worth $5 billion. In addition to the original Giorgio Armani ready-to-wear line, Armani Collezion, Emporio Armani jeans, Armani junior, A/X Armani Casa.Armani himself has been living the jet-self life for decades, moving among the stars brighter. (Typically, he was a guest at the wedding of Katie Holmes Today he oversees the Giorgio Armani juggemaut, one of the largest privately owned fashion reported to be worth $5 billion. In addition to the original Giorgio Armani ready-to-wear line, Armani Collezion, Emporio Armani jeans, Armani junior, A/X Armani Casa.Armani himself has been living the jet-self life for decades, moving among the stars brighter.
His list of awards and honors include:
• 1979 The Neiman Marcus Award
• 1980 CUTTY SARK Award for International Top Men’s Fashion Designer, also won in 1981, 1984, 1986, and 1987
• 1981 GQ magazine’s Men’s Style Award for best fashion designer
• 1983 Council of Fashion Designers of America
• 1984 Occhio D’Oro as Best Designer for Spring/Summer Collections, also won in 1986, 1987, and 1988
• 1985 Commendatore Dell’Ordine Al Merito Della Repubblica (Italian Government Award)
• 1987 Gran Caveliere Della Repubblica (Italian Government Award) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for men’s wear by the CFDA
• 1990 The PETA Award
• 1992 The Fiorino D’Oro Award for promoting Made in Italy image
• 1993 Aguja De Oro Award for Best Designer of the Year
• 1996 GQ’s Man of the Year Award
This is but a few of Armani’s awards.
He may have a list of awards as long as the number of zeros in his bank account, but Armani isn’t all charm — those who know the famous designer well describe him as arrogant at times.
A self-proclaimed workaholic, it is Armani’s hard work, creativity and philosophy of style that have earned him his fortune and accolades. While Ralph Lauren boasts classic pieces for the yuppie and the polo player/country enthusiast, and Calvin Klein revolutionized the tailored suit with clean lines, Armani designs for the thinkers — those who choose comfort over the superfluous.
His design philosophy follows 3 golden rules: eliminate the superfluous, emphasize the comfortable, and acknowledge the elegance of the uncomplicated.
Below Giorgio Armani Collection