Florence, Judy. Aprons of the Mid-Twentieth Century, To Serve and Protect. Atglen, Pa.: Schiffer Books, 2002. McKissack, Patricia. Ma Dear's Aprons. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Joyce Cheney

ARMANI, GIORGIO Giorgio Armani, one of the most authoritative names in Italian ready-to-wear design, was born in Piacenza, Italy, in 1934. He became interested in fashion in 1957, when he left the school of medicine at the University of Piacenza to become a buyer for the La Rinascete chain in Milan. In 1964 Armani met Nino Cerruti, owner of Hitman, the Italian men's clothing producer. After a brief period to see how Armani worked with materials, Cerruti asked him to restructure completely the company's approach to clothing. Armani worked with Cerruti for six years, developing a simplified form of menswear that could be reproduced in series.

In the late 1960s Armani met Sergio Galeotti, which was the beginning of a relationship that lasted for years. In 1973 Galeotti persuaded him to open a design office in Milan, at 37 corso Venezia. This led to a period of extensive collaboration, during which Armani worked as a freelance designer for a number of fashion houses, including Allegri, Bagutta, Hilton, Sicons, Gibo, Monte-doro, and Tendresse. The international press was quick to acknowledge Armani's importance following the runway shows at the Sala Bianca in the Pitti Palace in Florence. The experience provided Armani with an opportunity to develop his own style in new ways. He was now ready to devote his energy to his own label, and in 1975 he founded Giorgio Armani Spa in Milan with his friend Galeotti. In October of that same year he presented his first collection of men's ready-to-wear for

How old is that apron?

If a woman gives you the aprons she's been saving all these years, talk with her about each one. When did she sew or acquire it? For what sorts of occasions did she wear it? For anonymous aprons, however, apron dating is both art and science.

Look through old magazines, catalogs, or patterns to find aprons like yours. Look at the apron's shape. What dress style is the apron designed to cover? Once you've determined dress shape, look for pictures of vintage clothing to identify your apron's decade. Check the fabric. How old is it? Study any decorations. What techniques and materials are used for embellishment and when were they in vogue? Note the colors. Colors pass in and out of fashion. If the fabric has a printed picture, check hairdos, clothes, appliances, furniture, or any other clues. If it's a commercially made apron, check the label for clues.

Labelled Ancient Roman Clothing

Giorgio Armani with pieces from his collection. After freelancing for a number of fashion houses, Armani founded his own label in 1 976, quickly capitalizing on a reputation for producing high-quality, distinctive clothing at affordable prices. AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission.

spring and summer 1976 under his own name. He also produced a women's line for the same season.

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