Celebrating Fashion Mogul Giorgio Armani As He Celebrates 90 Years On 11 July

At the venerable age of 90, Giorgio Armani shows no signs of slowing down as he continues to build on his fashion legacy. This year, the Italian fashion mogul celebrates his milestone birthday on 11 July. Since founding his eponymous label in 1975, Armani has guided its expansion from a distinguished menswear line to a global luxury empire, encompassing Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange, Armani/Casa, Armani Beauty, and more. To this day, Armani remains the sole owner of Giorgio Armani S.p.A—marking it one of the few independent major retail brands, with a network of more than 500 standalone stores worldwide. Throughout his illustrious career, Armani has received numerous accolades, including Best International Designer and Lifetime Achievement Award for menswear by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a plaque by the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style in Beverly Hills, California, and several honorary degrees.

(from left) Cate Blanchett, Giorgio Armani, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and Roberta Armani.

Born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza, Armani was raised alongside his brother and sister by their parents. Before beginning his journey in design, Armani initially pursued a medical path and spent his early years at the University of Milan’s medical school with dreams of becoming a doctor. However, in 1953, he joined the Italian army, where his medical background earned him a promotion and transfer to a hospital in Verona. After gaining firsthand experience in hospital settings, Armani ultimately decided to pursue a different career route. Shortly after, he landed a job as a merchandising manager at Milan’s high-end department store, La Rinascente, and later became a menswear designer for Cerruti 1881. The nascent designer rapidly garnered industry attention, especially for his deconstructed suit jackets. By 1976, Armani’s designs were available at Barneys New York, followed by fragrances and affordable diffusion lines. He also expanded his influence into different realms, ranging from restaurants and floral collections to home furnishings, yachts and hotel décor.

Giorgio Armani.

During the early stages, Armani often sketched on black backgrounds or directly on fabrics with written explanations. Over time, this imagery evolved to become more refined and streamlined. These sketches have always been the foundational starting point for Armani, from his earliest designs to the growth of his brand into various lifestyle categories. They serve as the crucial medium through which he captures and communicates his artistic vision. “I believe that the hand of a human being is very different from the key on a computer,” he said. “I am very loyal to my roots that come from pure design—a pencil and a sketchbook. But, of course, where necessary, I rely on the latest and modern technologies.” Even as the brand evolved, his sketches have persisted as a constant and integral part of Armani’s design process and philosophy. His creations can be found at his personal exhibition venue in Milan, Armani/Silos.

Giorgio Armani.

The parallels between Armani’s clothing and the architecture surrounding him are evident throughout. One notable example is how his garments reflect the colours of Milan itself: beige, grey and ‘greige’, a colour palette Armani conceived himself. The spaces Armani occupies also reflect his penchant for well-established designs, making them recognisable and practical for everyday life. As he puts it: “My work revolves around bringing elements together. Significant objects like a large painting from an old cinema in my hometown or two bronze panthers symbolise aspects of my life. These valuable components, along with Art Deco and contemporary art, are my primary sources of inspiration.”

Happy 90th birthday, signor Armani!

More photos of Giorgio Armani’s designs and properties

Giorgio Armani

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