The full Biography of GIORGIO ARMANI and "The power suit" - Fashion Worldwide
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Italian executive Giorgio Armani is an iconic fashion designer best known in America for his popular men’s suits. Born in 1934, in Piacenza, he has become one of the most popular names in fashion. He launched his business empire in the mid ’70s, and it has grown substantially over the years.

The Armani brand now includes clothing, eyewear, makeup, housewares, books and even hotels.

Growing up

Armani grew up in a small town outside Milan. It was a difficult time in Italian history. Giorgio and his two siblings (older brother Sergio and younger sister Rosanna) experienced the hard times of The World War II firsthand. Some of his friends were even killed during the bombings.

“We were poor and life was tough!” he explained to Harper’s Bazaar.

The designer-to-be developed an interest in anatomy at an early age, making “dolls out of mud with a coffee bean hidden inside,” explained to the Guardian newspaper – that led him to 2 years of medical study at the University of Piacenza. Taking a break from school, Armani had to complete his required military service. When he had his first 20 days off, he went straight to Milan on holidays and he got himself a job at a department store. Here, he started assisting the photographer, designing the windows and arranging things in the store.

After completing his military service, Armani dropped out of university and went to work at La Rinascente, a famous Milan department store. Afterwards, he joined the staff of Nino Cerruti as a designer.

1960

During the late 1960’s he met Sergio Galeotti, an architectural draftsman, with whom he established a long term personal and professional relationship. With the encouragement of Galeotti he started to do freelance design work for other companies. Later on, Galeotti inspired him to open his own office in 1973.

Photo Source: The New York Times

1975

Armani and Galeotti became business partners and founded Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in July 1975. The debut of his company’s first collection was that same year – a men’s clothing line. Armani launched a women’s collection the following year, which was highly appreciated. His clothing line was revolutionary at the time, introducing a more natural fit and using a subtle color palette.

“My vision was clear: I believed in getting rid of the artifice of clothing. I believed in neutral colors!” he told WWD.

1979

In 1979, he founded the Giorgio Armani Corporation, the American branch of the Italian company and introduced a new line of clothing, called “Mani“, for men and women. He introduced several product lines under his Giorgio Armani brand because he believed he could design everything related to it: Le Collezioni, Underwear and Swimwear, and accessories.

1980

Richard Gere chose Armani in the movie American Gigolo (1980). After this appearance, Armani generated a huge interest in the fashion world. He also provided lots of costumes for the hit television series Miami Vice (1984-1989), starring Don Johnson. Soon, many top Hollywood stars started wearing Armani on the red carpet: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, John Travolta and much more.

Photo Source: Pinterest

Photo Source: Pinterest

During the 1980s, wearing Armani became a symbol of success for many business professionals. Everyone called the brand’s suits, “the power suits“. With the high demand, Armani and Galeotti were able to grow the business more and more, opening up Armani stores in Milan.

That same time, the company introduced Armani Junior, Armani Jeans, and Emporio Armani lines. The Emporio lines consisted in products for youth with a very stylish design at an affordable price. The target was the social middle-class population.

Photo Source: Pinterest

1985

1985 was a tough year for the designer because he lost his longtime friend and business partner Galeotti to AIDS. While some thought that the business might suffer after Galeotti’s death, Armani showed the world that he was just as talented as an executive as he was as a designer.

He opened Armani Japan and introduced a line of eyeglasses (1988), socks (1987), a gift collection (1989) and a new “basic” men’s and women’s line for America known as A/X Armani Exchange (1991).

Photo Source: Tumblr

1989

Armani expanded his operations, opening his first restaurant in 1989. He really wanted to “take over the world” being present in every business he had interest in. He also bought clothing manufacturer Simint S.p.A.

1990

By the end of the ’90s, Armani had over 200 stores worldwide and annual sales of roughly $2 billion. His company continued to add to its product offerings, expanding into the home goods market and book publishing.

Photo Source: Tumblr

1996

Eric Clapton, his long-time friend composed some songs for Armani’s fashion shows and is a loyal customer ever since. Later that year, Clapton opened 2 Emporio Armani stores in New York City.

1998

He also prepared to break in the Chinese market by opening up his first small store in Beijing in 1998. It was soon followed by a flagship store in Shanghai (2004) and his made up a plan for 40 stores up until 2011.

Photo Source: Pinterest

2000

After the frenetic expansion of the ’90s (sportswear, watches, eyeglasses, cosmetics, home and new accessories collections) soon became many more. The year 2000 was the celebration of the 25-th anniversary of the brand and Giorgio Armani SpA was introducing new lines of cosmetics and home furnishings and decided to expand its line of accessories. He invested his money in much more related activities, including stock sales and the acquisition of new manufacturing capacity intended to increase Armani’s control over the quality and distribution of his products.

2005

In 2005, Giorgio Armani had the debut of his first Haute Couture Line. He launched this high-end venture because he liked the challenge.

“Think how liberating it is for a designer to make one dress, perfectly, to satisfy only one customer,” he told In Style magazine.

Photo Source: Pinterest

2006

His label received a huge publicity boost when he was asked to design the formal attire for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s wedding in Italy.

“Katie wanted a simple, elegant dress that was rich in material with a slim silhouette,” he says.

The result was an off-the shoulder gown with an ivory silk train adorned in Valenciennes lace and Swarovski beaded crystal embroidery. He also dressed the rest of the wedding party including Katie’s baby daughter Suri who had an organza and chiffon dress inspired by her mother’s.

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Photo Source: Pinterest

2008

Armani designed the bullfighting costume, called the “Goyesco”, worn by Spanish bullfighter Cayetano Rivera Ordonez at the “Corrida Goyesca” in Ronda, Spain. His designs set the trends in this field and they have also collaborated on several fashion shows and other events.

2010

In 2010, he opened his first hotel in Dubai, and another one soon afterwards in Milan. The fashion designer has invested into every available opportunity that included his main field – design. The Armani Hotel in Dubai was opened in Burj Khalifa on April 27, 2010, and had 39 floors of the skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It also has 160 guest rooms and suites and even 144 residences. Giorgio Armani is also designing the interiors of the Armani Residences, also within the skyscraper, and its specially designed line of products from the Armani/Casa home furnishings collection.

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Photo Source: Think High Magazine

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Photo Source: Interior Design

With more than 3 decades in the business area, Armani has enjoyed a longevity as a fashion designer. Some compare him to designers and houses like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.

Today, Armani’s brand can be found in major department stores around the world along with 500 exclusive retail stores.

Armani was present everywhere, especially in Hollywood. He has designed many stage outfits for pop superstar Lady Gaga, including those worn on her record breaking Monster Ball Tour and Born This Way Ball Tour. In addition, he has also designed for many high-profile award shows, such as the Grammy Awards (52nd edition) and the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

|| GOOD TO KNOW ||

  • Giorgio Armani was the first designer to ban models with a body mass index (BMI <18). That was soon after model Ana Carolina Reston starved herself to death due to anorexia nervosa.
  • On January 2007, Armani broadcast his collection live on the Internet, being the first in the world of haute couture. The Armani Privé Spring/Summer 2007 Fashion Show was broadcast via MSN and Cingular cellular phones.
  • The first project of its kind was the parnership between LG and Prada that resulted LG Prada Phone. Afterwards,  Samsung joined Armani to design The Giorgio Armani phone.
  • The designer has a deep interest in sports, being the president of the Olimpia Milano basketball team.

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