Armani Prefers A Benz

What do you get when you put a luxury car on the crafty catwalk of an accomplished fashion designer? One hundred gorgeous CLK-Class Cabriolet cars in the driveway, or rather 100 of Giorgio's limited-edition from Armani. Unveiled at last month's Paris Motor Show, Mercedes Benz presented its exclusive special-edition CLK Class Cabriolet personalised by the renowned Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

The colours and materials used give the perfect four-seater Mercedes Cabriolet a highly distinctive look. And thanks to a special paint in a warm sand tone and an interior of high quality materials to match, the Giorgio Armani cabriolet exudes a luxurious, sporty and masculine air.

Only 100 units of this elegant vehicle will be offered worldwide as part of the exclusive Mercedes-Benz designo range. The designo range allows discerning customers to personalise their Mercedes-Benz using a selection of exclusive material and paint finish options. Each of the 100 vehicles represents the common design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz and Giorgio Armani and will be issued with a certificate that confirms its limited status.

The 'Mercedes-Benz CLK designo by Giorgio Armani' is based on the CLK 500 Cabriolet, which not only provides high-quality technology and fascinating styling, but also open-air driving pleasure and unsurpassed comfort for up to four passengers. Following the unveiling of the 'CLK designo by Giorgio Armani' at the press days of the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes Benz was to exhibit the creation at their showroom on the Champs Elysees in Paris (Sept 25 to Oct 10, 2004). But what did Armani have to say about his first automotive deign project? "We quickly found a common language."
11 October 2004


An Indian Summer For Armani

Billowing white drapes from ceiling to catwalk along with the insistent rhythm of sitar and tabla, set the scene for Giorgio Armani's lifestyle brand Emporio Armani. His collection, reminiscent of India in the last days of the Raj, didn't shy from his clean, contemporary image. Instead, colours ranging from cobalt, pink and intense blue mixed beautifully with the more subtle biscuit and ivory.

For daytime, jodhpurs were predominantly in crisp white cottons, teamed with narrow-shouldered, tight-fitting bodices and jackets, in delicate fabrics, often ruffled or creased. For evening, softer tailoring was called for, like the traditional Indian combination of long tunic over pants or layers of sensuous chiffon swathing the hips, and lots of tone-on-tone embroidery, crystal beading, and glittering silk threads. To top it all off, turbans were worn with ease conviction, and in sync with all things colonial.
29 September 2004


Armani revives haute couture

The Italian fashion designer has finally decided to take on haute couture. Whereas other design houses such as Ungaro and Versace are moving away from haute couture to focus on the prêt-a-porter market, Armani believes there is still a market for five-figure dresses.

His show on Tuesday at Milan Fashion Week featured long evening gowns covered in thousands of crystals, hand-printed silk and satin jackets embroidered with coloured jewels.

Armani has always been known for the beautiful cut of his jackets and evening wear that translated immediately to the red carpet at Hollywood events. Now, however, his designs appear ready for the Paris haute-couture shows. The designer has admitted that he would enjoy joining the haute couture crowd in Paris, but indicated that he wanted to gage the reaction to his new venture first.
29 September 2004


Thai Silk: a new trend?

Giorgio Armani has expressed interest in using Thai silk in international haute couture. The Italian fashion designer will research the use of this material in order to incorporate it in his designs for fashion and home furnishings.

This was decided during Milan Fashion Week, where Armani met Thai Princess Siriwanwaree Mahidol, whose designs were displayed at a fashion show in Milan last week. Furthermore, Armani and the Thai Industry Minister have agreed to work together to improve the skills of Thai fashion designers. Armani offered internships of six months to a year for young Thai designers, pending the results of design competitions to be held next year.
28 September 2004


Armani Launches Men's Fragrance

Hot on the heels of the women's Armani Mania launch Giorgio Armani is set to roll out a men's fragrance, Armani Black Code. The brand is aiming to crack the top-15 men's fragrance ranking worldwide. Armani Black Code debuts in the UK and Spain in September before rolling out to the rest of Europe in October and the US in 2005.
26 August 2004

Armani Pulls Out 'The New York Times' Ads

Italian fashion emperor Giorgio Armani cancelled all the ad placement orders with The New York Times after the newspaper had published a not-so-flattering review of his spring-summer 2005 collection.

"The creative possibilities of Italian fashion were once clearly synonymous with the name of Giorgio Armani," read the review published July 4th . "When exactly, one wonders, did that stop being the case? It is not so much that talk about corporate succession has damaged the image as the designer approaches 70. It is not that people have forgotten Mr Armani's profound contributions to fashion design. It is that shows like the one Mr Armani presented this week seem errant, confounding and stuck in a vision of an unrecognisable world."

In response the designer has taken out a full-page spread illustrating the more favourable reviews, and has refused to advertise again until the next review of his collection.

"It is correct that the Armani Group has removed the New York Times newspaper (not the New York Times Magazine) from its advertising plan," said a spokesperson for the company. "This decision has been taken as a result of the existence of a persistent and significant philosophical difference with the newspaper's fashion desk. We have no other comment to make at this time."

The designer has previously refused to advertise in the US Vogue claiming that it didn't give him enough editorial support.

7 August 2004


Armani Turns 70

Turning 70 on Sunday, Giorgio Armani, with his perma-tan, toned muscles and athletic physique, looks anything but his age. While he has everything - including a fashion empire worth billions-there is no apparent heir. "At 70, my birthday present to myself is that fact that I am continuing to think and go on ahead alone, without anyone to hold my hand," he told AFP, half-joking, half serious, in an interview after presenting his latest men's collection last week.

Was Armani confiding that he is beginning to find life at the top lonely? The multinational company, which he has built up and employs 5,000 worldwide, with an annual turnover of 1.3 billion euros remains independent and proud to be so in these days of luxury conglomerates.

The man is inseparable from the empire he has created-from the Teatro Armani in Milan, designed by his "friend," the Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, himself a global style guru, to his megastores in Shanghai, his sumptuous villa on the exclusive island of Pantelleria off Sicily, his new line of home furnishings "Armani Casa", and the vast yacht "Mariu" to which he recently treated himself.
12 July 2004


Armani Launches Mania For Women

Giorgio Armani's new womens fragrance, Mania, is to be launched this September. The scent aims to evoke the 'lifestyle' and 'casual chic' aspect of women, and is a woody, aromatic floral created by Dominique Roupion. The fragrance will be available in 30ml, 50ml and 75ml formats, as well as a body lotion.
10 June 2004


Armani Denies Claims To Sell

Recent claims that Giorgio Armani was to retire have been denied by the Italian designer himself. "I will let you know when the time will come. I am still around and plan to be for a while," said Armani from Rome, denying any intention of selling his fashion brand.

"I wish to categorically deny any such rumours," he said during the presentation of the exhibition on his works since 1975 held by the Guggenheim Foundation. "I have no intention of giving up the best thing in my life, which is my trade," he said.
7 May 2004

Could Narciso Rodriguez Succeed Armani?

Rumour in New York has it that Giorgio Armani had approached Cuban-American designer Narciso Rodriguez to be the heir to his fashion 'emporio.'

The Italian designer, who has retained control over his fashion house without bowing down to the larger luxury group companies, is turning 70 this year and may be considering retirement.

According to a source at New York Metro, Rodriguez has been offered a multi-million euro package to front the house starting with the spring/summer 2005 collection. The deal stipulates, however, that he would have to relinquish his own label, which is currently selling well in The States and the UK. Publicists for both designers declined to comment.
21 April 2004


Armani Group Report Profit

The Armani Group reported a 3 per cent growth for 2003, with net profits topping 114 million euro. This is an increase of 14 per cent compared with 2002. The results, as stated by chairman and CEO Giorgio Armani, confirm the dominant position of the Armani Group in the fashion industry in terms of economical and financial performance.

The biggest growth markets for the Group are China at 17 per cent and the US at 15 per cent. The Autumn/Winter 04 portfolio has seen a rise of between 5 and 15 per cent for all five brands at the Group.
15 April 2004


Armani Liaising With Investors

In a bid to secure his business' future, Giorgio Armani is considering a development strategy of working with outside investors L'Oreal and Emaar Properties. To ensure steady growth while not falling prey to luxury-goods groups LVMH or PPR, companies such as L'Oreal would come out favourable as they are debt-free and are looking to find new external growth opportunities. Giorgio Armani owns his business outright while many of his rivals have rushed to be floated on the stock market or be taken over by multinational groups.
7 April 2004


Armani For Beautiful Legs

If ever you felt self-conscious about showing your legs, fret no more. The guru of style, Giorgio Armani, has teamed with Austrian hosiery maker Wolford to great luxury and fashionable leg and bodywear. The new range will be available from select boutiques and department stores this autumn.
6 April 2004


Armani To Open in Edinburgh

Next Thursday sees the opening of the new Giorgio Armani Store in Edinburgh. The event will be hosted by the ever-glamorous Lady Helen Taylor, Mr. Armani's UK muse. The boutique will exude a total Armani atmosphere, complete with matt grey walls and stone floors; a clean and sober interior designed to heighten the elegance of the clothes.

According to The Scotsman, the opening will not be attracting the London following of celebs and fashionistas usually associated with such events. This is not surprising, as Giorgio Armani is the epitome of low-key chic and his messages do not need to be screamed from the rooftops. Not even in Edinburgh.
18 March 2004


Armani into Hotel Trade

Giorgio Armani yesterday announced a move into the hotel trade with a GBP538 million plan to open 14 properties over seven years in cities including London, New York and Tokyo. The designer chose the launch of his latest collection at Milan Fashion Week to confirm a tie-up with one of the Middle East's biggest developers, Dubai-based Emaar Properties, for ten luxury hotels and four holiday resorts.

The first will open in Dubai, in the new Burj Dubai development which will be the world's tallest residential building. It will include 15 Armani-designed flats as well as 250 hotel suites and a spa. The move follows the decision by other fashion names to expand from clothing into other lifestyle areas, including home interiors and cosmetics. The recent series of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here was filmed at the luxurious Versace hotel on Australia's Gold Coast. Krizia owns a Caribbean hideaway, the Ferragamo family have hotel projects and jewellery firm Bulgari will shortly open its first hotel in Milan.

But Armani is the first to offer such a complete lifestyle - soon high-spenders will be able to buy his suits, his evening wear, his jeans, his furnishings and his holidays. Armani said yesterday he had been "exploring bringing Armani-style to hotels for years and we have had many approaches". He said Emaar, which was set up only in 1997, has the necessary "expansive vision, expertise and appreciation of our aesthetic".
24 February 2004


Armani's Demure-Sexy Look Is Oscar Potential

Armani's new look is sexy but demure. Calling it a "playful sensuality that transcends more obvious devices" the less is best phenomena is replaced with the sexy eccentricity of the fully clothed woman. For evening there were long satin skirts worn with matching camisoles and elegant, flowing evening coats; or long gowns, with petticoats glimpsed at the ankle, with demure outsize bows and ruffles obscuring the place at the neckline where, normally, an upholstered cleavage would be.

After last week's London fashion shows, in which new ideas were explored, Armani restored the feel of "big business" with a series of outfits shown earlier than usual in order to attract interest from celebrities looking for clothes to wear at the forthcoming Oscars ceremony.

Normally his shows take place in the middle of fashion week, but this year's Oscars are earlier than usual - this coming Sunday - and Armani traditionally dresses more stars for this event than any other designer. Ordinary customers have to wait until the autumn to see these dresses in his stores. But his London spokeswoman, Victoria Gooder, said: "These dresses could well go direct from the catwalk to Hollywood to be worn on Sunday if a client is interested."
24 February 2004


Time For Armani

Armani has completed a licensing agreement with the American company Fossil to launch a 'vintage' type watch collection, to be sold at very affordable prices.

From the beginning, the watches signed Emporio Armani have followed the major trends that made the success of the second clothing line of the Milanese stylist. Resisting the pressure to move upmarket, Armani has not deviated from this strategy, which has been amply rewarded in today's economic slump.

Armani watches benefit from Fossil's large distribution network as well as from sales in the Emporio Armani boutiques established in market around the world.
27 January 2004


Armani Embraces Metrosexual Male

Giorgio Armani summed up the five days of menswear preview showings for fall-winter 2004: dressing a man who dares to show tenderness. Throughout the week designers have been abandoning tough guy looks to explore the gentler side of the male ego, from the sporty wholesome look of the English countryside, to the genteel style of velvet suits, cashmere sweaters and silk evening wear.

"Metrosexual" is the name invented for a man who combines macho with mild, claiming some femininity for the male sex. "It's a question of esthetics, not gender," said Armani after the show in the theater of his ultramodern headquarters. Armani's winter collection centers around the new "George" jacket. The shoulder is subtly padded, hinting at power, while the soft lines and sweater-like fabric give it a feminine feel. "Above all it is very comfortable," Armani said.

T-shirts under jackets are replaced by refined silk shirts, while trousers are loose-fitting, but never baggy. Evening wear includes the sweater tuxedo which combines silk and jersey to produce a jacket which is as soft as a cardigan but as formal as a dinner jacket.
16 January 2004


Armani Did It His Way

Speaking at the "luxury in a cool climate" fashion conference in Paris on Sunday, Giorgio Armani laid bare the secrets of his success, proving that with his legions of followers and not compromising his creative vision he is the new king of fashion

In a volatile industry, where games of musical chairs between star designers regularly wreak havoc with share prices, reputations and nerves, Armani enjoys a position of almost unrivalled security. He remains sole shareholder of the empire he founded 30 years ago and which now has a global value estimated at almost £3-billion.

Armani further attributed his success to a refusal to run with the pack. "My way was always to be as personal as possible. Just because everyone else is doing something, that doesn't make it right. "In fashion, the tide turns so frequently that if you lose your own way, you will be completely lost. The fact that I am here today proves that this strategy works."

He admitted, however, that this bullish approach had come at a price. His one sorrow was that he had not paid more attention "to human relations. In this business there's a tendency to become very self-centered, and that is regrettable." A retrospective of Giorgio Armani continues to be exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London until February 15, 2004.

9 December 2003


Armani Celebrates Hollywood Style With Retrospective

The glitterati of film and fashion turned up en masse last night to celebrate the opening of the Giorgio Armani exhibition at the Royal Academy, which starts today.

Visitors will be awed by a design career spanning some 30 years and the new show, which displays hundreds of his dresses and suits, has a room dedicated to clothes worn by some of the world's most beautiful women - including the stunning silver gown worn by Rosamund Pike to the premiere of the James Bond film, Die Another Day.

When asked about who some of his Hollywood favourites, the 69-year-old designer admitted: "Think of Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface, when she comes down the stairs in that gold dress - I fell in love with her too at that particular moment. "There are also some younger actresses today like Mena Suvari. She is beautiful and the way she moves is so sensual. And Julia Roberts - well, just her smile is enough, really."

Although he is based in Milan, Armani revealed that he saw London as the "source" of fashion. He said: "I honestly believe that fashion starts in London - it is the stimulus, the source for creativity.
"Just think of Carnaby Street in the Sixties - that had such a huge influence; the French, the Americans ... everyone around the world picked it up. "The spirit that London has is exceptional. There is a great creative freedom here you find nowhere else, and a very sincere love for fashion."

As for British designers, Armani said he particularly admired John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Giorgio Armani: A Retrospective runs from Saturday 18 October to 15 February 2004 at the new Royal Academy space at 6 Burlington Gardens

15 October 2003


Giorgio Armani Design Car

Coinciding with the start of Milan Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz and Giorgio Armani announce the start of a new joint cooperative venture, the initiative being the creation of the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car.

The idea for the collaboration has arisen following on from the successful start of Mercedes Benz's sponsorship of the five city world tour of the Guggenheim's Giorgio Armani - A retrospective exhibition. The tour began at Berlin's Neue Nationale Gallery in May this year, and will open next a London's Royal Academy of Arts on October 18th.

The Mercerdes\Armani design car brings to life Mercedes legendary automotive design and Armani's distinctive approach to style in a way that uniquely demonstrates the synergy in philosophies. Armani's concepts in designing the color and material for the Mercedes-Benz was to bring back that sense of handcraftsmanship that one associates with vintage car, thereby creating a modern, timeless and ultra-elegant vehicle.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President, Mercedes Car Group, states of the collaboration: "Design and style clearly dominate both our worlds, which, in our opinion provides a fundamental and inspiring basis for promising collaborative initiatives."
1 October 2003


Barbie Gets Armani Makeover

Giorgio Armani has given a makeover to Barbie. The eponymous Italian designer of minimal fuss has created a strapless, silk chiffon top and beaded crepe skirt for the Mattel doll. Being ever the perfectionist, he further designed an evening purse, a matching necklace and earrings to complete the outfit.

Armani is donating his royalties to YouthAIDS, a global initiative to educate and protect at-risk youth from HIV infection, and Room to Grow, which works to improve the lives of babies born into poverty. Barbie debuted in 1959 as a teenage fashion model. More than 50 designers, including Bill Blass, Calvin Klein and Vera Wang, have designed items for the Mattel doll.

4 August 2003


Armani to Dress England

Italian designer Giorgio Armani is to dress the England Football Team for their new official suits. The footballerÆs new clothes will consist of a classic two-button suit, a side-button trench coat, a cardigan, a jacket as well as luggage, and other accessories. Colours will be straight from the Armani pallette, and will be navy, pale blue and pearl grey. Mr. Armani supervised the fittings before a photocall last Sunday.

21 May 2003


Armani to design football uniform

Italian fashion maestro Giorgio Armani is going to dress the England football team. The prominent designer was picked for the job by team captain David Beckham and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. Armani is going to create two separate outfits each - one formal, the other smart-casual - for the squad of 26. The outfits cost GBP 3,500 for each player but Armani will reportedly do it for free as he will benefit from the publicity.

April 19, 2003

Sàfilo Group partners with Armani

The Sàfilo Group and the Armani Group on Thursday announced the agreement of a multi-year license for the worldwide production and distribution of Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani optical frames and sunglasses collections. Sàfilo is expected to distribute its first Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani collections to retail stores in the Middle East in the last quarter of 2003.

Sàfilo designs, produces and distributes sunglasses and prescription eyewear under license for leading luxury goods companies. In addition, Sàfilo has a number of its own brands including Carrera and Smithas well as Sàfilo, Oxydo and Blue Bay.
March 4, 2003


A/X Armani Exchange takes on the beach

A/X Armani Exchange hits the beach next February with "Beachdance," a campaign intended to show the brand's sensual energy and style. The campaign is part of a larger brand strategy that focuses on its customers' lifestyle and interests such as music, dancing and night clubbing. The colour ads, shot in Playa Careyes, Mexico, break with A/X's black-and-white print ad tradition.

The campaign, which consists of single-page executions and spreads, will run in February issues of Details, Elle, Flaunt, Interview, Jane, Lucky, Marie Claire, Out, Paper, Vibe and others. Outdoor ads and dance parties will take place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The effort is being handled in-house. Budget was not revealed. A/X spent 3.9 million USD in 2001 and 2 million USD through October of 2002. Armani Exchange now operates forty one stores in North America and twenty four internationally. In 2003, the company plans to open three new stores, two in New York and one in Dallas.

January 23, 2002


Coming soon: Armani jewellery!

First there were designer-chocolates now there is going to be designer-jewellery. Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani is about to produce its first ever jewellery collection. US watchmaker Fosil Inc. will produce the new Giorgio Armani’s collection. This week Richardson, Texas-based Fossil, which already produces watches for the Italian fashion house, said it inked a deal with Armani to design, manufacture, market the line.

Fossil said it expected to reach a definitive agreement within the next thirty days. The new jewellery line will be available in autumn at jewellery stores and watch dealers in the US and select international markets.

Fossil is also a licensee of Burberry, Columbia Sportswear and Diesel and its products are sold through department and specialty stores in 90 countries as well as in 80 company owned US stores.


New fall line for Armani

In a new attempt to change the popularity of the colour black to brown the hot Italian brand Armani is not playing fair play. Recently the fashion house introduced Armani Dolci, a line of chocolate brown … chocolates! It is a line of delicious pralines in dark, milk and white chocolate, single helpings of mousse, desserts and various other sweet morsels.

As with everything Armani, the packaging is all-important. These goodies come in a pearl gray box, wrapped in pretty Japanese paper, sealed with a newly picked flower to emphasize freshness. To complement the sweets, exotic teas and coffees from around the globe will also be available. As of September 15th Armani Dolci will be available in the Milan based store.

August 6 2002


Giorgio Armani to be named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

In recognition of his work with refugees, Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani will be named as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at the annual "Pavarotti and Friends" concert. "I am proud to welcome Giorgio Armani as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and grateful to him for accepting the role," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers in a press release on Tuesday.

Armani has been working with UNHCR over the past year – in a personal capacity and through his company – by lending support to the agency's public awareness and fundraising efforts for refugees, especially during emergencies. He responded to the crisis in Afghanistan by starting the Giorgio Armani Christmas campaign for Afghan refugees. It included a substantial donation, the placement of public awareness and fundraising advertisements in international and Italian media, and direct support by the Armani Group through the sale of specially-designed sweatshirts and promotion of donations by Giorgio Armani customers.

"I was impressed by Giorgio Armani's rapid and effective mobilisation of his company's resources in response to my emergency appeal for Afghan refugees last year," said Lubbers. "He was active on several fronts – including fundraising and drawing public attention to the crisis. He will be a great partner to UNHCR in mobilising support for some of the world's most unfortunate and needy people."

Armani replied, "I have always admired the tireless work of UNHCR. I am accepting this role with humility, recognising that the challenges for the world's refugees are significant. But I have always believed that each individual has an opportunity to make a difference, and I hope that I may have a chance to do just that. Ultimately we all have to assume responsibility for making the world a better place. I am particularly committed to assisting young refugees gain the means to rebuild their lives. After all, children are our future."

The new Goodwill Ambassador will visit refugee camps later this year to learn more about UNHCR's education and vocational training projects. Among his other activities, he plans to provide support for UNHCR income-generating projects for refugees.

Other UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors include American actress Angelina Jolie, Swedish-American classical singer Barbara Hendricks and Egyptian actor Adel Imam. Armani's appointment will be made at the annual charity concert of another UNHCR benefactor, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. This year's concert, which also stars Sting, Lou Reed, Andrea Bocelli, James Brown and other major musical celebrities, will benefit Angolan refugees in Zambia.

28 May 2002