Giorgio Armani, 74, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Armani Group and sole share holder of Giorgio Armani S.p.A., one of the world"s leading fashion and lifestyle design houses, with 5,000 direct employees, 13 factories, and a direct network of 500 exclusive retail stores in 46 countries worldwide. Under Mr. Armani"s direction, Giorgio Armani S.p.A. today stands as one of the few remaining independent, privately owned companies in its sector, with a proven business strategy that has capitalised on the worldwide power and potential of the Armani brand name.
Born on July 11, 1934, Giorgio Armani grew up with his sister and brother in the northern Italian town of Piacenza. In 1957, following two years of study in medicine at the University of Piacenza, Giorgio Armani decided to leave in order to pursue his interest in fashion, accepting a job as a merchandiser at Milan"s well known department store, La Rinascente. Thereafter, Mr. Armani worked as a fashion designer for Nino Cerruti, and then as a freelance designer for various companies, an experience that resulted in an exceptionally rich and varied evolution of his style.
After several years of working as a freelance designer, Mr. Armani was ready to devote his energy to his own label and followed his friend Sergio Galeotti"s suggestion that they open a company together. On July 24, 1975, the two business partners founded Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and launched a men"s and women"s ready to wear line.
Mr. Armani"s philosophy of fashion and style, together with his entrepreneurial ability, has been central to the success of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. He oversees both the company"s strategic direction and all aspects of design and creativity. Perhaps best known for revolutionising fashion with his unstructured jacket in the Eighties, after thirty years of running his own label, he now presides over a stable of collections, including his signature Giorgio Armani line, Giorgio Armani Prive, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Teen, Armani Junior, Armani Baby, and Armani Casa home interiors, offering a choice of lifestyles to the marketplace. Today, the company"s product range includes women"s and men"s clothing, shoes and bags, watches, eyewear, jewellery, fragrances and cosmetics, and home furnishings.
In May 2005 Giorgio Armani S.p.A. signed an agreement with Emaar Properties to create a series of Armani Hotels & Resorts. Under the terms of this agreement Giorgio Armani undertook responsibility for originating and implementing design concepts that would define the style and mood of a new international chain of hotels, resorts and luxury residences scheduled to open in the world"s leading cities and tourist destinations. Elegance and harmony were to be the keynotes of the project, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a total experience rooted in the Armani lifestyle. The first of these Armani hotels will open in Dubai during 2009, and will be followed by another in Milan in 2010.
During his career Mr. Armani has received many local and international awards. These include the Commendatore dell"Ordine al Merito della Repubblica, and Grand"Ufficiale dell"Ordine al Merito della Repubblica (Italy"s highest government awards), and the Award for Best International Designer, Lifetime Achievement Award for men"s wear and for art and fashion from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He has, in addition, been recognised with an Honorary Doctorate from London"s Royal College of Art, and has an Honorary Degree from Milan"s Accademia di Brera. In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from London"s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and in 2007 he received an Honorary Degree in Industrial Design from the Politecnico University of Milan.
Mr. Armani has served as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. In 2003 he was honoured with the inaugural Rodeo Drive "Walk of Style" Award for his pioneering role in bringing the worlds of fashion and cinema together. In 2006, Giorgio Armani was honoured with other important awards: from the Dino Ferrari award for being the most renowned fashion designer in the world, to the Elle Award given to Mr. Armani in Valencia, and the "Leonardo Award" presented to Mr Armani by the Italian Presidente della Repubblica, Giorgio Napolitano, in recognition of his status as a major representative of "Italian Quality" worldwide. In 2008, in Paris, the President of the French Republic, Nicholas Sarkozy, conferred the order of the Legion d"Honneur on the designer.
In 2000, New York"s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrated the social and cultural influence of Mr. Armani"s career, placing special emphasis on his pioneering design work for the cinema, by staging an exhibition that has since been seen at some of the world"s most prestigious museums, including the Guggenheim Bilbao, London"s Royal Academy of Arts, Berlin"s Neue Nationalgalerie, Rome"s Terme di Diocleziano, Tokyo"s Mori Arts Museum and Shanghai"s Shanghai Art Museum. On February 20th, 2007, the exhibition reached its eighth venue at the Triennale di Milano in an expanded and enriched version with a striking new display over two floors.
In 2005, Giorgio Armani presented his first collection of haute couture, Giorgio Armani Prive, in response to requests from clients who were seeking exclusive clothes of the very highest standard, fulfilling all the criteria of fine bespoke tailoring.
In 2006, Giorgio Armani went to the World Economic Forum in Davos to personally announce his support for (PRODUCT) RED, the pioneering global initiative founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to fight AIDS in Africa.
In 2007, on the occasion of the 79th Annual Academy Awards, Giorgio Armani presented an exclusive showing of his new Haute Couture Giorgio Armani Prive Spring/Summer 2007 collection to a specially invited audience in the grounds of Ron Burkle"s Green Acres Estate in Beverly Hills. The following day he attended the Oscars.
At the end of 2007, Mr. Armani travelled to Tokyo for the opening of the Armani/Ginza Tower, his fourth concept store after Milan"s Armani/Manzoni 31, Munich"s Armani/Theatiner 12, and Hong Kong"s Armani/Chater House. The Armani/Ginza Tower features magnificent spaces in which the complete Armani fashion and lifestyle philosophy can be discovered under a single roof. Armani/ 5th Avenue is the next scheduled concept store. It will be opened in New York during 2009.
For Fall 2012 designers are inspired by a wide range of influences, from the elaborate details of brocade and metallic gold embellishments to the dynamic mix of military chic and power pantsuits. Colo