Armani, Giorgio

Giorgio Armani’s career started off simple. The designer started working with ready-to-wear at age 40 and today is one of the biggest names in world fashion.

Giorgio Armani analyzing sketches in his studio, 1979.

His style is unmistakable and it is safe to say that the key piece in his career was the jacket, which he reinvented several times. The designer brought new ideas and modernized this essential item of the men’s and women’s wardrobe by opting for the use of lighter fabrics and new models. A minimalist, he has always avoided exaggeration, praising the combination of sophisticated materials and techniques in the execution of his products.

The Armani house was the face of the 1980s, and dressed from iconic television and cinema characters to the most famous celebrities. It is also part of what is today the Armani Empire, active in fashion from ready-to-wear, with the Emporio Armani line, to haute couture, with the Armani Privé line. In addition, the Armani Empire began to operate in other segments of the luxury world, such as interior design and other branches of architecture.

Giorgio Armani was born on July 11, 1934, in the city of Piancenza, Italy. His parents had three children, Giorgio and his siblings Sergio and Rosana, with Sergio being the oldest, Giorgio the middle son and Rosana the youngest of the family.

His childhood was marked by simplicity. His mother has been a source of great inspiration throughout his career and especially in the moments that led him to define his style. Despite financial difficulties, she not only dressed herself elegantly, but also conveyed her style in the clothes she made for her children, which drew a lot of attention for their refinement. Another source of inspiration was the world of cinema and its stars.

In his youth, the designer’s first choice was to study medicine, but after just two years of study, in 1953, he joined the army.

Giorgio Armani wearing his army uniform in 1955.

His first contact with fashion came on one of the army holidays he spent in Milan. His first job in the business was that of window dresser for a sophisticated Italian department store called “La Rinascente”. His rise in the store was rapid, he soon became responsible for several of its sections, dealing with everything from shopping for the men’s department to the display of its windows.

In 1965, Armani caught the attention of fashion designer and entrepreneur Nino Cerruti and then started working as a designer of men’s clothing for the “Hitman” line, at the fashion house Nino Cerruti. His artistic talent was well received and, for seven years, he began to improve what would become his own style. There, he endeavored to work with cool colors and lighter fabrics. He also remodeled the jacket, changing its buttons, narrowing its shoulders, making it less structured, among other changes. While working for Cerruti, he managed production to be as efficient as possible, always taking into account the maximum savings in cutting fabrics and how much this was reflected in the final price of the products. By gradually remodeling the traditional men’s jacket, Armani made the Nino Cerruti brand rejuvenate. His work was well received and he started to do freelance work for about ten manufacturers.

At the time, the “Made in Italy” was in vogue and the new social classes were beginning to understand that wearing clothes from renowned brands was important to show professional success.

In the late 1960s, he met Sergio Galeotti, a young architect who would become an important friend and work partner.

After a few years of friendship, Sergio Galeotti was convinced that Armani should have his own brand, and spent two years trying to convince his friend to open his business, until, finally, in 1973, Armani opened his consulting agency while still freelance working for companies like Gibò and Montedoro. What he did next was find a way to be among the last names to be shown in the Italian fashion season of 1973, held at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. In the following year, he presented his first men’s collection and, in 1975, his first women’s collection.

The success was great and, in 1976, the Giorgio Armani Company was born, which Armani created with the help of his friend and, now partner, Galeotti. The designer took care of its artistic direction while Galeotti was responsible for structuring the company financially.

Armani (on the right) and his partner and co founder Sergio Galeotti (on the left) in the Armani Milan offices in 1978.

This was the time in which the Giorgio Armani brand began its ascendancy curve, which would lead it to become the business empire it is today.

There followed a succession of new clothing lines, such as the swimwear and underwear ones, which pleased the public and were a success.

In 1980, Armani developed the costume design for Richard Gere to star in the film “American Gigolo”. This work not only drew even more attention to the Armani brand, but also marked the beginning of a long-standing partnership with the world of cinema. Currently, the Armani house has developed the costumes for more than one hundred films, such as “The Untouchables” and “Batman: The Dark Knight”.

In addition to cinema, the Armani brand was also known for the costume design of famous TV programs, among which the most notable was “Miami Vice”.

His involvement in the audiovisual world was responsible for consolidating the Armani fashion house as a great worldwide success, becoming the face of the 1980s.

The years went by and, after the death of his partner Galeotti, in 1985, Giorgio Armani himself started to entirely manage his brand.

Today, the brand is present in several fashion branches, operating from the most basic and affordable ready-to-wear, with the Armani Exchange line, to the exclusive haute couture business, which it started to be a part of in 2005.

Armani has always been personally interested in sports, and for that reason, he became involved with the making of uniforms, such as the one of the Italian team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

In addition to the fashion industry, the Armani brand empire is also present in other areas, such as architecture. The maison, nowadays, signs the design of luxury hotels across the globe.

With elegance and sophistication, Armani managed to set up and manage a multi-purpose empire on his own. To this day, he denies purchase orders by groups of brand conglomerates.

His clothes are marked with touches of neoclassicism and impeccable tailoring, and Armani continues to prove that he is one of the few who can adapt to different trends without losing style and elegance.

Next there is a sequence of slides and mosaics with a selection of images from: Logos; Hotels and Armani / House in Miami (Tower of luxury apartments); (Personal) house in Milan; Evolution of the men’s jacket (source; Vintage Armani; Armani; Armani Privé; Red carpet.









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Bibliography: Callan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da moda de 1840 à década de 90 / Georgina O’Hara Callan ; verbetes brasileiros Cynthia Garcia : tradução Glória Maria de Mello Carvalho, Maria Ignez França – São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2007.

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