In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a suit fashioned by the celebrated and influential Italian designer Giorgio Armani (1934—) became the outfit of choice for wealthy, style-conscious males. Armani suits were known for their simple yet elegant design, their striking look, and their comfort. They were custom tailored and were meticulously cut to fit the form of the purchaser. A typical Armani suit generally featured three pieces: a fully-lined, three-button blazer with padded shoulders; a matching vest; and single-pleated trousers that were lined only in front, down to the knees. The suit was black, charcoal gray, or navy blue; it was soft or textured; and it was made of the highest quality wool, cotton, cashmere, silk, or linen.
During the 1980s the Armani suit projected authority and self-confidence and became the ultimate "power suit," a name given to suits that were meant to display the power, or at least the ambition,
of the wearer. Armani suits were favored by Wall Street stockbrokers and Hollywood agents. They were regularly worn at the Academy Awards. The celebrities who favored them ranged from movie actor Richard Gere (1949—), who famously wore them onscreen in American Gigolo (1980), to basketball coach Pat Riley (1945—).
Armani's profile was so high that in 1982 he became the first fashion designer to appear on the cover of Time magazine
In the 1980s, an exquisitely tailored Armani power suit was a symbol of success. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos/Fashion Wire Daily.
since Christian Dior (1905-1957) four decades earlier. Additionally, Armani employed his basic fashion philosophy, extravagant does not mean uncomfortable or overdone, in the simple, stylish suits he designed for women. His dark or neutral-colored jackets and pantsuits became standard attire for women in and out of the workplace.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Celant, Germano, and Harold Koda, with Susan Cross and Karole Vail. Giorgio Armani. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Giorgio Armani. http://www.giorgioarmani.com (accessed on August 27, 2003).
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