American Gigolo wore Armani
George Armani’s Italian journey to an empire began in The States all the way back in 1980, with the release of Paul Schrader’s iconic movie American Gigolo, played by beloved by everybody Richard Gere.
The movie introduced an image of a man society at that time had not paid much attention to - a dandy. He was a man devoted to attracting, pleasing, and seducing. This character was full of mystery; however, his elegance and magnetism were evident at first sight. Proud of what he presented, the gigolo prioritized his looks and put his physical appearance on somewhat pedestal. Hiding behind the mask of perfection, he created a whole new, irresistible world around him. And the tools to do so were the clothes. The key to the image of such an attractive and, on some level, even dangerous man laid in the Giorgio Armani label. Being highly selective in his wardrobe choices, as everything played a particular role, let this be a suit, shirt, or a tie, Armani was gigolo’s only choice.
Image: American Gigolo 1980
Not only did the image of the American Gigolo become extremely popular, but it also marked a new era for fashionable men all over the world. From that moment, the Giorgio Armani suit became an essential element that could not be replaced by anything else. Wearing Armani became as image-essential as having a nice house at Beverly Hills, driving a Porsche, or signing contracts with nothing else but a Montblanc pen. The Armani suit became a representation of success, status, and belonging to the high society. In a sense, the Armani suit is a perfect case of quiet luxury vs old money. While a classic Armani suit is discreet, it was widely embraced by new success. Hollywood celebrities and a-list stars, such as John Travolta, Whoopi Goldberg, Ricky Martin, and Glen Close, became Armani's faithful customers. Wearing this Italian designer on the red carpet, they all presented Armani as one of the century's most influential designers.
According to the interview Giorgio Armani gave to Ingrid Sischy (2000), Armani himself never expected his life to turn out this way. This phenomenal success and royal position in the world of luxury fashion became a complete surprise to the now, without a doubt, iconic Italian designer. However, no matter how unexpected the growth came to be, not only Armani managed to keep it under complete control, he and his friend and colleague Sergio Galeotti managed to build an empire worth billions.
Today the Giorgio Armani brand offers a number of luxury fashion lines, accessories, perfume, and make-up lines. However, Armani did not stop on the fashion and beauty industry; after going into home goods, which is quite usual for other luxury fashion designers, Armani became among the first ones bringing his fashion-acknowledged name into restaurants, nightclubs, and even hotels. Giorgio Armani’s practices are indeed a great example of what the collision of artistic creativity and a business vision can achieve.
While Armani’s input and influence on the women’s fashion scene of that time are undeniable (let’s not forget, it is Armani that brought in stylish pantsuits and empowered us with an image of a successful yet very elegant boss woman), his business empire is absolutely astonishing.
Image: NBC News
Giorgio Armani and The Guggenheim Museum
And if you have ever heard or been a part of a discussion on whether fashion should be considered art or whether fashion designers have the right to call themselves artists, you should know that Giorgio Armani could reasonably be called a pioneer in bridging this gap. As argumental and perhaps, some may say provocative, his retrospective at New York’s The Guggenheim Museum was all the way back in 2001; it had indeed shaped the perspective on fashion creatives, their role, and their place in the world of modern art.
Image: The courtesy of Guggenheim.org
Emporio Armani Caffe in Paris
So while both Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani brands have not delivered any groundbreaking collections or trend-setting it-accessories in a while, we should always remember the milestones achieved by the genius visionary Giorgio Armani. And while people around the world enjoy going to stylish and very Instagrammable coffee shops and restaurants owned by various luxury fashion brands, we should thank Giorgio Armani for his vision all the way back in 1998 with his first Emporio Armani Caffe in Paris.
Image: The courtesy of Armani.com