Happy Birthday, Giorgio Armani: here’s why you’re an icon

Happy Birthday, Giorgio Armani: here’s why you’re an icon

by Ollie Cox
6 min

Giorgio Armani is 90 today, but we bet he’s not taking a day off. Since founding the brand in 1975, Armani has revamped red-carpet dressing, won over the fashion crowd with his approach to design, and had his clothes featured in Hollywood classics. 

Fashion can be a fickle beast, with Creative Directors thrust into a vicious cycle of fashion Masion musical chairs, egged on by a swarm of social media criticism. And given Armani’s chosen career as a fashion designer, a notoriously tough gig lasting this long in one job is an even bigger feat. But Armani’s Emporio and Giorgio Armani labels remain a highlight of the Fashion Week schedule, embodying a contemporary classicism where sleek simplicity underpins a simple elegance that hits as hard now as it did when it was founded in 1975. 

Giorgio Armani ©

Armani is known for a few things: Navy is his signature colour, bringing an air of calm to the fast-paced fashion world. He doubles down on relaxed, double-breasted tailoring, marking a move against the super-shouldered rigidity that dominated ‘70s and ‘80s tailoring styles, but still gives enough structure to say, “I’m in charge, and I look like it.” It is simplicity at its most chic; it is intricate but not ostentatious, an equilibrium that has induced the fashion stardom and staying power that surrounds the Italian designer. 

To celebrate Mr Armani’s birthday and massive fashion career, we’ve rounded up some of his most iconic moments below. 

From medicine to the military
Giorgio Armani ©

A young Giorgio Armani wished to pursue a medical career, enrolling at the University of Milan in 1950 and leaving after three years to serve in the military. Armani has continued to reference the utilitarian design tropes of the military uniform in his output, seen in bomber jackets, which regularly appear in Armani’s collections, most recently seen in Giorgio Armani’s SS25 menswear collection. 

Window dressing to design 
Giorgio Armani ©

In the mid-1950s, Mr Armani left the military to become a window dresser at Rinascente, a Milanese department store, marking the start of his fashion career. In the years that followed, Armani worked for established Italian Houses, honing his craft. In 1975, he founded his namesake label with Sergio Galeotti.

Revamping the red carpet 
Giorgio Armani ©

In the mid-1950s, Mr Armani left the military to become a window dresser at Rinascente, a Milanese department store, marking the start of his fashion career. In the years that followed, Armani worked for established Italian Houses, honing his craft. In 1975, he founded his namesake label with his partner Sergio Galeotti.

Some serious celebrity moments 
Giorgio Armani ©

Armani goes beyond gorgeous gowns when it comes to celebrity dressing. In 1978, he designed a now-legendary tan jacket and striped layered skirt for Diane Keaton and was behind Julia Roberts’ legendary oversized suit in 1990. Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, Beyoncé, Victoria Beckham, Anne Hathaway, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna are some of the big names Armani has dressed. 

Italian fashion on the map 
Giorgio Armani / Vittoriano Rastelli ©

When you think Italian fashion, one of the first names that should come to mind is Armani. Mr Armani presented Italian fashion to the world and continues to do so today in its sleek and sophisticated output, contributing to Mr Armani’s net worth of more than $11.1 billion. 

Killer couture 
Giorgio Armani / Roger Hutchings 2002 ©

In 2005, the Giorgio Armani Privé collection debuted in Paris, continuing Armani’s trademark elegance through the meticulous craft of couture. And to this day, Armani Privé is a firm favourite on the red carpet. 

Innovating beyond clothes 
Giorgio Armani / Emanueke Scorcelletti 2003 ©

Before live streams were commonplace, Giorgio Armani broadcasted the Armani Privé Spring/Summer 2007 collection, becoming the first fashion house to live stream a collection. Off the runway, Armani has been behind a series of worldwide “One Night Only” takeovers and opened a chain of hotels and hospitality ventures worldwide, with the first opening in 2010. 

Cover image courtesy of Giorgio Armani

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