Giorgio Armani

Birthplace: Piacenza, Italy

Awards: Neiman Marcus Award, 1979

Cutty Sark Award, 1980, 1981, 1984 Gentlemen's Quarterly Manstyle Award, 1982 Grand Officiale dell Ordine al Merito Award, Italy, 1982 Gold Medal from Municipality of Piazenza, 1983 CFDA, International Designer Award 1983, 1987, L'Occhio Oro Award, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994

Cutty Sark Men's Fashion Award, 1985

Bath Museum of Costume Dress of the Year Award, 1986

Grand Cavaliere della Republica, Italy, 1987

Lifetime Achievement Award, 1987

Cristobal Balenciaga Award, 1988

Media Key Award, 1988

Woolmark Award, 1989, 1992

Senken Award, 1989

Fiorino d'Oro award, Florence, 1992

Golden Effie Award, United States, 1993

Aguja de Oro Award, Spain, 1993

Academia del Profumo Award, Italy, 1993

Giorgio Armani grew up in Italy with his younger sister, Rosanna, and his older brother, Sergio. Armani attended the University of Bologna where he studied medicine and photography from 1952 to 1953. In 1953 Armani was drafted into service in the Italian army for one year. After his term of service he decided not to return to medical school but took a position with La Rinascente, a local department store. His first position at La Rinascente was as a window display designer from which he worked his way up to a buying position in the menswear division. In 1960 Armani was offered the menswear design position at Nino Cerruti, where he stayed for ten years.

In 1970 Armani left Cerruti, and, with the help of his new business partner, Sergio Galeotti, formed a design studio which contracted freelance clothing designers. By 1974 Armani had launched his own menswear label, Giorgio Armani. The line was an immediate success, and Armani was dubbed the "King of Jackets." The collection was so successful that Armani decided to launch a women's line the following year.

The revolutionary unstructured silhouette that Armani created for men's suits was the menswear equivalent of Christian Dior's 1947 New Look for women. This new look for men quickly gained prominence, especially in the United States, after Richard Gere appeared in American Gigolo wearing Armani suits in 1980. Armani's women's line also became an immediate sensation after Diane Keaton appeared in Annie Hall wearing an Armani tweed jacket. Unlike the suits of other menswear designers, Armani's suits were softly tailored, not rigid. The signature Armani jacket became the standard for the well-dressed man of the 1980s. In the corporate climate of the 1980s, an Armani suit brought respectability and authority to the wearer. Armani's broad-shouldered suits gave women the authority they needed to enter the boardroom with confidence.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Armani continued to expand his product offerings by adding new labels at varying price points. Armani added Emporio Armani, a contemporary bridge line for men and women; Armani Jeans, for men and women; Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, a tailored menswear and women's wear line; Mani (Italy) and Giorgio Armani USA, a

1980s Giorgio Armani Womenswear

Giorgio Armani: Armani's elegantly draped and softly tailored men's suit provided the first alternative to the traditional, rigidly tailored men's suit.

better priced women's wear line; and Armani Exchange Footwear, traditional footwear for men and women. Armani also lent his prestigious name to licensed products for athletic wear, accessories, cosmetics, and perfume. He licensed his name to Skinea in 1996 to produce a line of men's and women's skiwear under the Neve label, which was followed by a line of men's and women's golfwear. In 1997 Armani licensed his name to Fossil, Inc., for a new line of watches under the Emporio Armani Orologi label. Armani debuted his first fragrance in 1983, Armani le Parfum for women, and its male counterpart, Armani Eau pour Homme in 1984. Armani's next perfume, Gio, was released in 1985 through Helena Rubinstein, but the license was transferred to L'Oreal in 1993. The relationship he began with L'Oreal in 1993 allowed him to add two additional fragrances, Acqua di Gio for women and Acqua di Gio pour Homme for men, in 1996, under L'Oreal's newly created Prestige et Collections division. L'Oreal also took the Armani name into cosmetics in 1999 under the Beauty Components label.

Giorgio Armani's success stems from his passion and drive for the fashion business. Armani incorporates such fine fabrics as cashmere, alpaca, and suede into refined, understated, sophisticated apparel coveted by both business executives and fashion gurus, as well as some of Hollywood's most elegant stars. Celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Annette Bening, Richard Gere, and Jodie Foster don Armani for both business and leisure. See also: Nino Cerruti; Christian Dior. Website:

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