"I eliminate the differences between men and women. I gave to man the looseness, the suppleness, softness of the woman. And to woman the comfort, the elegance of the man" (from the interview with italian journal 'La Stampa', June 1994)
Before the myth, before the crown in the realm of fashion, who was Giorgio Armani? And moreover who is he now, at the dawn of his 80th birthday? A journey he walked through like a marathon runner, among shots of stylistic innovation, whose uniqueness has overturned not only the fashion industry but also the cultural aesthetics, consecrating the Made-in-Italy into the firmament elite of High Fashion, hitherto elitist French contract. Celebrating Giorgio Armani, fashion designer, entrepreneur, creative genius and above all character. Let's discover the man of deconstruction on the waves of soft silk and pins.
Giorgio was born in Piacenza, on 11th July 1934, in a close-knit family environment coming from a typical middle-class extraction: his father was a clerk while the housewife mother came from a family of furniture-makers in Piacenza.
It 's still far from the title of King Giorgio, from the industry and its sequinned circus games.
Hard to imagine him as a child, with that confident bearing, the icy eyes, deep and distant gaze, the same that was in danger of being compromised, beacuse of an accident occurred to him at the age of 9 years, forcing him in hospital for a period of 40 days and besides itching ambition in his still young mind.
Childhood is marked by the warmth of family, a brother tallest and most beautiful, as he himself admitted, and runs quietly between the countryside and the looks of genuine simple people from his hometown. A memory that does not abandon Armani, in his growth, marking a suffering and harsh constrast with the coldness of a hectic city's life, with which he'll deal at the age of 16 years due to the transfer to Milan.
The Milanese years are crucial for Armani, first enrolled at the University of Medicine, chasing a romantic dream of becoming a bucolic doctor but then abandoning it and began training at La Rinascente. As window dresser and photographer's assistant, the practical school teaches at Giorgio the basics market's mechanisms of this glazed yet ruthless industry but especially teaches him the understanding of the fabrics, the threads of which will weave his ascent. The turning point came in '64 with the working proposal (job offer coming from) of stylist Nino Cerruti. Since '73 Giorgio begins to climb the slopes of Fashion's Olympus along with his friend Galeotti scoring successful collaborations as freelancer until the launch of his own first collection, composed by men's and women's pret-a-porter in July 24th 1975, while the following year is signed by the appearance in Florence's runway of the famous destructured jacket.
The fetish-outfit for a fashion designer, what he wanted to sew his signature first, is precisely the jacket, also called blazer, the quintessential piece of men's wardrobe. Yet thispaternal and sexist monopoly has no future as the hands of Giorgio Armani will reshape the contours, softening, cutting, removing, emptying.
He eviscerates and reconstructs a type of jacket relaxed, informal and less rigorous, able to suggests the body and the sensuality in both directions of gender. Providing what, in the boom of the 80s, will become the armature of the business-woman and revealing, on the male side, a bold and avant-garde metrosexual style, unusual, adolescent and yet full of a sensuality that remarks itself as complelling and different.
The game with the aesthetic codes of Armani marks the culture of beauty, in the years of the stylistic revolutions following stormy trends, so rebellious either youthful. Detached from the early years of the "Fine Italian Hand" (we are in 1947 when the international magazines use this term for the new interest in the Italian excellence).
Devoid of internal padding the jacket is transformed, playing with classic proportions and abstracting unnecessary elements, which harness the physical expression and force to a rigidity that does not belong to Armani. Not to be confused with the distinctive elegance of him, or that rigor that is the fulcrum of the solemn cleaning in his design and tailoring. His clothes are marked by simplicity, by the combination of unusual fabrics and materials and monochromatic preferring neutral and cold shades from gray to beige, from which comes the grège (French term whose etymology derives, however, from the Italian "greggia" related to the typical color of raw silk).
The class is uninhibited because it no longer goes to look for the status conferred by a gown overly embellished, the Armani's woman has aristocratic style in blood, enhanced by a fluid clothing to emphasize the finesse belonging to movies from the '20s - '30s, iconography inspiration of the whole world Armani, whose appeal exerts a powerful influence on the aesthetics of the time with an eye to the past, backwards to a lost grace, leaving the vanitas of a spoiled luxury.
Sophistication and art, the tailored footprints of Armani confers to those who wear them an aura of authority, an expression of the genius that manifests itself strongly, as much precise and maverick, making him earn international praises including the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award (1979) and the cover of the weekly Times 1982.
Symbol of measured taste, that does not forget a delicate eroticism, he begins collaborations with the world of cinema, credits include Richard Gere in the film from 1980 "American Gigolo" and the cult of the wild '30s in a Chicago of the prohibition's time from "The Untouchables" (Brian DePalma, 1987) passing through costumes for theater, opera, ballet to the most recent collaborations with the music industry.
"Perfection is a state of mind. Why give it up?" (From the interview with MarieClaire magazine, July 2013)
Pulling the strings on the visual sensation what appears to us is cleanliness, simplicity, Armani's luxury is an oxymoron of whim's deprivation, the rule is to remove, not to add.
We get lost in games of softness, feeling almost to stand under neboluse forms of ethereal and eternal, no chromatic explosive violence allowed or perceived, the elegance signed by Giorgio
Armani always brings the fragrant scent of a movie stardom coming from the so-called 'golden ages' of Hollywood, and the ability of the black'n'white to make memorable women enhancing their beauty and uniqueness, giving them character.
Androgyny that engulfs the boundaries of femininity and manliness, contaminating sexuality between the fibers of the fabrics in a linear flow of folds and pince.
"Iconic status can be like a pair of handcuffs, especially if, like me, you wish to continually stretch yourself creatively, as Warhol did" (from the interview about the meeting with Andy Warhol in Inteview Magazine)
Reconstructing the story of the myth in great mouthfuls remains the mystery of the man, whose ambition is to express an attitude of perfectionism, a light portrait is possible, an attempt to penetrate the icy look, to find under the lens a textile fibers of the person over the character. But Giorgio Armani is not permeable, those who knew him speaks of him as an intelligent man, hungry for culture and discreet. We remain with a frame similar to the immortal film so dear to him, of a king and the weight of his crown leaning towards a relentless extension of creative boundaries.