Giorgio Armani was born in Piacenza in a very close middle-class family. After finishing high school, he went on to university enrolling in Medicine. Two years later, he abandoned his romantic dream of becoming a country doctor and, thanks to the help of a friend of his, he found a job at Rinascente in Milan, first as an assistant photographer and then in the window-dressing sector. In a very short time Giorgio became the manager of a men’s clothing shop. During the seven years spent working for Cerruti, Armani discovered how the clothing market worked, and he deepened his knowledge of textiles and design. July 27, 1975 marked the birth of the Giorgio Armani Corporation with the launch of his first men’s and women’s pret-a-porter collection at the first fashion show held at the Plaza Hotel in Milan. As soon as it was born, the Armani brand brought about a revolution in the world of fashion thanks to the new model of jacket called “de-structured”.
As stated by the designer, “the jacket was the first thing I wanted to put my signature on. I designed a relaxed, informal, less rigorous model of jacket revealing the body and its sensuality”.
The hallmark of the Armani-style “de-structured jacket” broke out in the Eighties. In that same period the designer started the first of a long list of film collaborations in the movie “American Gigolo” (1980) in which the leading actor Richard Gere wore Armani suits. Although Giorgio Armani’s creations have been used in over 150 movies, Armani has always stressed that he designs clothing, and not costumes.
In April 1982, the American weekly magazine Time dedicated its cover to him with a photo of the designer with the title “Giorgio’s Gorgeous Style”. International recognition had crowned Armani’s enterprise. In 1983 he received another prize: the tribute of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). While making major financial investments, by the beginning of 2000 his brand has invaded every sector: clothing, accessories, glasses, perfumes (Acqua di Giò, Black Code, Remix), jewellery, cosmetics and interior design. In 2001 he further increased his business by adopting a vertical company organization allowing him to oversee the entire process relating to his brand, ranging from production to distribution. Through his brand, he has always emphasized that his productions were strictly “Made in Italy”. In 2001, the first Armani Accessories shop was opened inside the new Armani Theatre in Milan designed by Tadao Ando.
In 2000, to celebrate his career’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the Guggenheim Museum of New York dedicated a retrospective exhibition to the master, with more than 500 suits and dresses, original drawings and videos covering the evolution of Armani’s creations.
In 2006, Essere Armani (i.e., “Being Armani”), the designer’s first biography, was published (written by Renata Molho, published by Baldini, Castoldi, Dalai).
1983: Best International Designer Award, Council of Fashion Designers of America.
1985: Conferral of the title of Commendatore of the Italian Republic.
1986: Conferral of the title of Grand’Ufficiale of the Italian Republic.
1987: Conferral of the title of Gran Cavaliere of the Italian Republic.
1991: Honorary Degree awarded by the Royal College of Art of London.
1994: Life Time Achievement Award of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF).
1998: Il Sole 24 Ore Prize (to Italian companies that create value and provide examples of successful business ideas).
2003: Superstar Award of the Fashion Group International during the Night of Star Award.
2008: Conferral of the Légion d’Honneur, the highest decoration of the Republic of France.
2008: “Vissi d’Arte – Città di Alcamo” International Culture Award.
Reasons for assigning the Award
This prize is awarded to Giorgio Armani, a living legend, as a sincere tribute to an artist, renowned the world over as the “Maestro”, whose works call forth deep and strong emotions among the public of every corner around the globe, which is a reason for Italy to be proud. Creativity, sensitivity, openness and human kindness are the hallmarks of his work and his Art, making him a leading figure around the world.
He has promoted and still continues to support a wide array of solidarity and cooperation initiatives in Italy and abroad. Moreover, he is a radiant example of extraordinary professionalism also for young artists who are stimulated by his ability to convey interest and passion.
Da sinistra: Francesco Bambina - Presidente dell’Associazione “Amici della Musica” di Alcamo e Giorgio Armani - Stilista