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10 December 2023

Armani: Now a truly household name

By Nic Ridley

You've got to admire the guy's work ethic. There he is, in his mid-seventies, so famous he has been reduced to one name, and with more in the bank than in the wildest dreams of Avarice.

Yet, does he show any sign of slowing down, of even wanting to take it a bit easier? Not a chance. God bless, Armani.

The fashion revolutionary, who launched his own label in the 1970s, defined the 1980s with his classic, beautifully tailored men's suits, something I and many other men still covet.

But while many companies and labels have floundered since their imperial phase, his has gone from strength to strength, and has branched out into countless diffusion lines – from glasses to sportswear and fragrances – and built an empire that is truly global.

Now, after successfully – and tastefully – dressing men and women for more than 30 years, he has turned his attention to dressing the home. As he tells Emirates Business in an exclusive interview, the same philosophy that made him a household name is now set to make him a name in the household.

Armani/Casa is the silver-haired Italian stallion's take on well-designed interiors. Everything has crossed the design guru's desk – from the humble vase to the sprawling sofa – and all are now on sale at Armani/Casa in The Dubai Mall.

Although well into retirement age, Armani refuses to hand over the reins of his empire. As the sole shareholder of Giorgio Armani SpA, he leads an army of 5,000 employees in 13 factories and 500 stores in 46 countries.

He speaks with a fluency and eloquence reserved for the serious fashion icon, using phrases such as "ideal for living", "beauty manifested through furniture", and "less is more but it must be a sophisticated 'less'."

From any lesser mortal, such coinage would warrant immediate entry into Pseudo's Corner. But this is Armani. He is an arbitor of taste who can excite a passion for clothing in the most neanderthal of men and women.

But on a more sober note, Armani's sprawling business has expanded exponentially over more 30-plus years without losing any of its kudos.

Where such rapid and broad expansion by other brands has drawn derision and accusations of "diluting" the company's vision or branding, Armani has consolidated his name and strengthened the company he built from nothing in northern Italy. Today, whether's the lower-end Armani Exchange or the high-end Armani Privé, – whether in Mall of the Emirates or London's West End – his stores are a must-visit for fashionistas.

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