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Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is an Italian-fashioned designer, one of the richest men in the world and the richest person in the world to identify openly as LGBT. Despite now being valued at close to $10 billion, Armani was not born into wealth.

Armani was raised by his mother and father (who was an accountant) in the northern Italian town of Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna, along with his older brother Sergio and younger sister Rosanna.

Originally, he held aspirations to embark on a career in medicine, which he studied at the University of Milan. However, he left his course to serve in the military. After a two-year stint, he gained a job as a window dresser, shop assistant and buyer in Milan’s luxury La Rinascente department store. He then joined the staff of Nino Cerruti as a designer, completing freelance work in his spare time. It was in doing this that Armani met Sergio Galeotti, who he could become personally and professionally with for the rest of his life.

Eventually, in 1973, Armani set up his first-ever shop at Milan’s 37 Corso Venezia. It was here that Armani, now supported by business partner Galeotti, debuted his first-ever men’s range, followed one year later by a women’s range. Giorgio Armani, now also the name of a burgeoning fashion company, extensively collaborated at this time, linking up with leading fashion contemporaries such as Tendresse, Montedoro, Sicons, Hilton, Bagutta, and Allegri.

Armani’s original collections were well-received by fashion critics. Armani led with a modern approach, wanting to simplify the clothes with a focus too on neutral colours. Popular in Europe, the fashion house did not make a splash in America - until Richard Gere wore Armani’s clothes in the 1980 film American Gigolo. Armani was then commissioned to provide outfits for the hit show Miami Vice. Suddenly, the rest of America started to take notice and Hollywood premiere red carpets started to fill up with cel

Armani’s career has been full of ups and downs. He was the first designer to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) under 18. This decision was made due to the incident that involved model Ana Carolina Reston starving herself to death due to the medical condition anorexia nervosa.

In the last few years, Armani was also commissioned by the English football club Chelsea FC to design their lounge, dining room and Directors’ Lounge area. He has contributed some outfits to singer Lady Gaga’s various worldwide tours. There is also an Armani hotel in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Intent on the company remaining a family business, Armani has family members working across different roles. The Armani retail network currently comprises 500 stores worldwide: 81 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 17 Armani Collezioni stores, 171 Emporio Armani stores, 165 A/X Armani Exchange stores, 16 AJArmani Jeans stores, 6 Armani Junior stores, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessori store and 33 Armani Casa stores in 46 countries. As well as fashion, the company now covers music, sports and luxury hotels.

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