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At a time when many historical Italian industries and brands are being sold to foreign companies in order to survive the economic crisis, it seems even more important to celebrate the 80th anniversary of an icon of Made in Italy worldwide. Renowned stylist Giorgio Armani turned 80 this summer, yet both he and his collections look as young, fresh, and combative as always.
Born in Piacenza, in northern Italy, Armani started his career in fashion as a window dresser for the Rinascente department store in Milan. In the mid 1960s he was hired by Nino Cerruti to work as a fashion designer.
In collaboration with his friend and business partner Sergio Galeotti, Giorgio Armani opened a design office in Milan and worked as a freelancer for several companies, gaining experience, making himself known, and developing his innovative style. In 1975, they founded Giorgio Armani Spa and presented the brand’s first ready-to-wear Spring-Summer collection one year later.
The production of Armani’s manufactured classic and luxury clothing was soon expanded to the United States and other countries, creating more and more lines for both men and women. Among them were G. A. Le Collezioni, Giorgio Armani Underwear and Swimwear, Giorgio Armani Accessories, Armani Junior, Armani Jeans, and Emporio Armani. The latter was designed to meet the same quality standards of the main line in terms of style, but at a more affordable price.
Armani also signed an important agreement with L’Oréal to create perfumes, but when somebody insinuated that he was interested in selling the company to the French group, Armani denied this and stuck to his own philosophy.
Over the years, Giorgio Armani has become one of the world’s most famous and wealthy stylists. His success is due to his determination and his commitment: he controls every step of the process, from design to production, from distribution to unconventional marketing strategies that include commercials, street advertising, and a magazine. He was the first to broadcast his haute couture collection – Armani Privé - live on the Internet in 2007, and he also believes in the power of cinema to promote his business and as a source of inspiration. Since the 1980s, when he designed Richard Gere’s attire in American Gigolo, Giorgio Armani has collaborated with the film industry in over 100 movies.
Recovering from Sergio Galeotti’s passing, Armani continued to expand his production to Eastern markets, launching a sportswear line and the more accessible Armani Exchange for the U.S. mass market, but also cosmetics and home furnishing lines.
In 2000, the Guggenheim museum in NY celebrated his work through the first exhibition ever dedicated to a living stylist, and on the occasion of Expo 2015 the museum Armani Silos will open to the public in Milan.
Despite the passage of time and the challenges of constantly changing trends in fashion and in contemporary society, Giorgio Armani remains an ambassador of Italian style and elegance all over the world, and his amazing creations will hopefully be a symbol of the strength of Made in Italy for many more years to come.