Bonnie J Brown
He’s Italian, tan to the point of glowing, in prime shape (for his age), he’s frequently surrounded by beautiful women and has impeccable taste. No, I’m not talking about Jersey Shore’s Mike the Situation, but instead, Italy’s most successful designer, Giorgio Armani. His success can certainly be found in the numbers, as he is consistently ranked on Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires list. Armani’s most recent and lucrative successes can be linked to the fact that he has lent his name and image to everything from cosmetics to hotels and restaurants. And while the Armani name is synonymous with luxury, this luxury stems from the fact that he makes beautiful clothing.
Rather than seeking out a career in fashion, Armani seemed to stumble into it more than anything else. Before becoming a window dresser for an Italian department store in the 1950’s, he studied for a time to become a doctor and then later a photographer. Luckily, he had an eye for clothing and quickly became the buyer for the menswear department. Later he went to Nino Cerruti and designed men’s clothing while also freelancing as a designer for a number of other menswear lines. It wasn’t until 1975 that Armani designed a collection under his own name and also debuted a women’s line of clothing. With his long history as a menswear designer, it is no secret that the suit is a thing of passion for Armani. The cut is impeccable and practically screams elegance, but is understated enough so that the wearer wears the suit rather than the other way around.
While Armani’s approach to designing clothing is to keep in mind the every day person and their situation, his connection to Hollywood is long and varied. Designing suits for Richard Gere in American Gigolo in the 1980’s catapulted him into the American culture as well making him a star favorite. His fashion shows, still after 36 years, bring in the biggest names in Hollywood. His suits remain something of a status symbol, as he continues to design clothing for the movies, including the suits made for Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight.
While a designer who so enjoys creating men’s wear, his women’s collection would seem to come in a distant second or even as an after thought. However, this is not the case here. There are just as many women who seek to wear an Armani suit and even more flock to wear his evening wear. Armani’s Prive collection, which just recently showed during Paris’ Haute Couture Fashion Week, offers women the chance to have couture clothing that possesses all the craft and handy-work that goes into a couture piece, but with a much more simple elegance that is not often seen in couture dresses. For a designer who has so many different lines and who offers clothing to such a wide-array of customers, his aesthetic never seems to vary. The lines on his garments are always clean and his clothing has a minimalist look, but they contain enough pizzazz that the wearer is instantly glamorized because of it.
1. Giorgio Armani Spring 2010 Menswear
2. Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive Spring 2010
3. Richard Gere in Armani in American Gigolo 1980
4. Armani Prive Fall 2010 Couture
5. Giorgio Armani Pre-Fall 2011
Image Layout: Molly Murphy