Paul Smith (1946) is an English tailor and designer. The first thing he sold was a pocket handkerchief with the British flag. Today, in the stores, everything is from robots to ties. He is always unconventional. It has transformed the tailoring into an explosion of colors, inventions, fashion trends combined with the oldest quality of fabrics. He still has the spirit of a twenty-something, cutting-edge designer, which is why he continues to ride the crest of the wave.
His clothes are like his personality: amusing and serious at the same time, eccentric but wearable. He opened a multi-brand shop in Nottingham in 1970, and nine years later opened his first proper shop, revolutionizing the concept of selling space, which from then on was no longer just the space used for the display of goods, but a meeting point for anyone interested in style.
His first menswear fashion show was in 1976 in Paris. From that point on the label has grown from strength to strength. The brand’s reputation has never ceased to grow. He has also been asked to be a consultant to the Prime Minister Tony Blair.
You Can Find Inspiration in Everything (and if you cannot, look again!)
In February 2001, Paul Smith joined The Queen on the Birthday Honors List, an acknowledgment of his contribution to British fashion. Later, in November he published You can get inspiration from anything (and if you cannot, look again!). It is not a fashion monograph, nor a clothing catalog, but a collection of images where the author is portrayed in the most diverse situations. The volume, 288 pages, was edited by Alan Aboud who has co-authored the author as an art director for more than ten years. The project was also signed by Jonathan Ive (iMac designer). At the same time, he opened a shop in London at the Royal Exchange.
Paul Smith in Milan
In March 2002, Paul Smith opened his first single store in Italy, via Manzoni in Milan. The project is by Sophie Hicks. Then, the first men’s shoe store was opened in Paris. The following month, in collaboration with Cappellini, the Mondo furniture collection will be launched during the Milan Furniture Show.
During the same period, the designer organized Great Brits, an exhibition that pays homage to the greatest British designers. The exhibition was held in his own studio in Milan at Viale Umbria 95. The designer chose four young names: D. Mathias Bengtsson, Tord Boontje, Daniel Brown, and Sam Buxton.
In 2003, after the enormous success achieved with the first collaboration, Reebok commissioned the designer to create a new collection of 80’s men-women shoes, named after Paul Smith, Reebok 2. The materials are mainly orange and blue nylon and real red and blue leather. Exclusively worldwide, only in the stores of Paul Smith (around 250 worldwide) you can buy the first book written by David Bowie at the “modest” sum of £ 295, Moonage Daydream: the truth behind Ziggy. Each of the 2500 numbered copies is autographed.
Boutiques and Iconic Stripes
In February 2005 he opened his first shop for the Pink line in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo. The flagship store measures 120 square meters and is entirely for womenswear and accessories. It is called Paul Smith Pink+. Then, in March he released the Black collection, following an earlier Blue version, the second official women’s line to be found in department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and Selfridges.
Paul Smith boutiques are known for a distinguished playful design. Every boutique is designed and decorated differently, but all are full of color and character, mirroring his personality. This concept reflects his unconventional design.
In 2006, with the intention of using it only for a season, the stylist launches the iconic signature of Paul Smith Stripes. There are not many styles that can be worn either by a two year old girl, or a 35-year-old man. The stripes are perhaps the only candidate. The rows have the power to make a highly distinguishable surface, which, speaking of clothes, explains why they have never been kept in great care.
The Recent Year’s
In 2009 Paul Smith made a collection of bike clothes in association with Rapha. In this period, he opened stores in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles, and London.
In mid-November 2013 the company celebrated their 40th anniversary in the fashion world at the London Design Museum with the exhibition Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. The goal is to explore all aspects of the designer’s career, including future development. Accurate reproduction of Paul Smith’s studio, as well as an immersive installation, reveal some of his inspirations. The exhibition is a real journey through its collections, a day in the life of a parade and collaborations with other brands.
In 2017, in Florence, Paul Smith lit a fluorescent light in his youth line, PS by Paul Smith, and re-launched with a focus on basic clothes. The designer argues that the cornerstone of his business is the basis:
“Well done, of good quality, simple cut, made with special fabrics and easy to wear.”
Paul Smith has not presented his collection to Pitti Man for 23 years, but has considered Pitti Uomo 91 the right occasion to present his new collection. The latter translates his attitudes towards classic and bizarre in terms related to the new generations.
Giorgio Armani is an Italian designer, born in Piacenzwas in 1934. He is by far the dominant figure in the extraordinary flourishing of high fashion prêt-à-porter, which spread from Milan throughout the world. An individual who, due to his physical charm, detached manner, and ability to merge work and environment in a vision that is simple, concise, rigorous, and clear, has seemed to express a perfect symbiosis between his own lifestyle and the elegance of his models. His economic empire is the reward not only of creativity and imagination, as it is for many other famous names in fashion. His success expresses a creative power that has been able to interpret desires, reconcile opposing needs and brilliantly reinvent a basic article of clothing.
Armani himself embodies the success of his famous jacket, which freed men from the old armor of the bourgeois suit, gave women self-confidence in a masculine look, and, as it was said during the 1970s, helped them more than did feminism itself. The designer began his spectacular career in prêt-à-porter at the age of 40, after a long, multifaceted and invaluable apprenticeship in which he learned much, both about taste and the relationship between fashion and business.
La Rinascente & Cerutti
After interrupting the study of medicine, in the 1960s he worked at La Rinascente, at the time a true crucible for the creative skills of architects, designers, market researchers, and advertising experts. His activity was wide-ranging and went from the buying of men’s clothing, and figuring out from the market, with sufficient lead time for manufacturing, how many people wanted a change of wardrobe, to window displays. Even today he can’t resist the impulse to spend an entire morning on the windows of one of his many boutiques.
In 1965 Nino Cerruti noticed his talent and hired him to redesign his Hitman line. By this time already precise and meticulous, Armani learned the importance of fabrics, both for their creative possibilities and for the economic value of even one inch of material saved in the cost of a garment. He began to design clothes in a way that would afford economies of scale manufacturing. He spent seven years at Cerruti, selecting fabrics that were lighter, colors that were colder, making everything less structured, changing buttons, and narrowing the shoulders. He did this to give the men’s jacket, up to that time a formal and stiff garment, a supple and real-life look, youthful for all ages. It was the 1970s, and the fashion world, on both sides of the Atlantic, adored the early Made in Italy lines, while new social classes were ready for the idea that one needs good clothes in order to emphasize personal success.
Sergio Galeotti, a young man from Viareggio who had just left an architecture studio to become a model buyer, realized that Armani couldn’t remain a designer who worked for others, but had to have a collection of his own. Cautious and somewhat distracted, Armani took two years to convince himself, in 1973, to open his own consulting business with Galeotti in Milan, while still working for various firms including Gibò and Montedoro to Tendresse, Courslande and Sicons. He quickly entered his name in the final fashion shows at Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Scarcely a year later, in 1974, his first men’s Collection came out, then in 1975, the first women’s Collection.
Giorgio Armani’s Company is Born
It was such a triumph that in 1976 the Giorgio Armani company was born. Galeotti conceived the company’s structure: no in-house manufacturing, only the production of ideas. The formula was reaffirmed in 1978 in the agreement with GFT, the first to make possible high fashion prêt-à-porter produced in a factory but under the close eye of the designer. Very soon, Armani’s shows became the most anticipated, both for the clothes and for the decor. The farsightedness of the new griffe was constant, guided by the notion that young people especially would be the consumers of fashion, as long as it remained affordable and did not lose its appeal. Very quickly in comparison with other lines, Emporio Armani became a reality.
The eagle became for young men a sign of belonging to a new style of dressing and of being; a loose-fitting, agile, less solemn look attractive to women. Armani’s fame grew quickly. In 1981, annoyed by polemics over a Collection inspired by ancient Japanese costumes, following some of Kurosawa’s films, he decided to stay away from the fashion shows for a season, and Time Magazine, finding the protest explosive, put his picture on the cover. In 1982 the turnover tripled. Meanwhile, his consulting services were requested by Mario Valentino, for his collection of leather goods, by Erreuno, and by licensees wanting to use his trademark, such as Bagutta for men’s shirts, Hilton for cloaks, and Allegri for raincoats. His unmistakable and ever-varied touch lights up a decade of work, while his fundamental research in high fashion prêt-à-porter leads to results of such refinement that they can no longer be produced in a factory.
Partner Galeotti Passes Away
In 1983 Armani changed his agreement with GFT, which from that point on would produce a new line, Mani, intended essentially for the U.S, while high fashion prêt-à-porter would use the label Borgonuovo 21, the street in Milan where he restored and rented the palazzo that once belonged to Franco Marinotti (Snia Viscosa) and the cotton manufacturers Riva. Shows are mounted in a 513-seat theater that once was the ballroom and swimming pool. Galeotti was barely able to manage the showing of the Spring-Summer Collection for 1985 and would die in August of that very same year.
The second decade of activity finds Armani alone but poised, thanks to study and a strong will, to add to his great achievements a real revolution in women’s clothing. The world was changing and women no longer needed to camouflage themselves, or to hide their bodies in the looseness of a perfect jacket.
Analyzing the stylistic development over what is by now 25 years of activity, certain constants emerge and some variations from his characteristic rigor can be seen. The taste and logic of his first revolution are never diminished, either in the men’s or the women’s collections, with their mutual exchanges of particular elements not only in terms of shape and cut, but also in the selection of interchangeable colors, in their materials, in a masculine appearance, a loose and soft hand or, viceversa, in shirts and jackets with a female touch for a man of a disconcerting freedom.
Loved by the elite and by mass consumers, adored by the critics, Armani was three times awarded the Occhio d’Oro in Italy for the Season’s Best Collection, and has received many honors throughout the world. He dressed Catherine Deneuve in Speriamo che sia femmina, Richard Gere in American Gigolo and provided costumes for the Strauss opera Elektra at La Scala, directed by Luca Ronconi with stage-designs by Gae Aulenti.
The George Sand of Spring 1976, in the winter of that year wore tweed jackets with a bold pattern, very masculine, but accompanied by a plissé skirt which, like trousers, allowed a loose and long stride. In Spring 1977 there were two skirts, overlapping, while the men’s jacket took on sophisticated accents, and the idea of “doubling” passed to men’s clothing as well, when a knitted jacket was put over a blazer. The jacket was destined to join every other element of clothing.
Then, in 1978 it went with a bathing suit, and in the fall Armani combined it with military colors. There was continuous research into everything to do with the shoulders, and the result was a “Garbo” long-wearing even in crêpe de chine. But the evolution of the jacket in 1983 was based on three items: the blazer in black velvet, the long-sleeve jacket with round shoulders, and the caban of Andean origin. There were few trousers and, instead, many varieties of culottes in very new tromp–l’oeil designs. The jacket was transformed, becoming an interchangeable item or a piece to be combined freely.
In 1984 there was a return to the taste for a men’s wardrobe with a hint of the feminine, an androgynous collection like no other. But the following year, for the Autumn-Winter Collection, Armani showed his sweet side, presenting a masculine jacket, but loose and down buttoned, for an easy-going woman with hair up and a neckless blouse. It was a show with 350 different fabrics varying in shades of blue, grey, and brown.
In October 1985 the Spring-Summer Collection won extraordinary success with its ethereal, stylized woman, her legs covered by very clear stockings and completely in view, wearing high heels. It was a femininity somewhat difficult and yet in some ways too much on display. It was a change in Armani’s usually sober look. The jacket is always the clue to understanding a style, but new suggestions came from the princess dresses in printed silk.
The novelty of the Autumn-Winter 1986 Collection was the evening dress. Armani’s woman, a mix of seduction and common sense, could count on an Armani universe: from perfume to timeless high fashion prêt-à-porter, similar to himself with minimal change, from writing paper to lamps, in a line that was more free and well-developed in the various aspects of its diffusion, the Emporio line.
In 1986 evening wear out-did day clothes, according to the demands of the American market. The Armani woman, self-confident and without nostalgia, chose a jacket that was no longer rigid and severe, breaking the rules of jacket-and-blouse in favor of daring new combinations (1987). From then on in 1988, the Autumn-Winter Collection was characterized by an atmosphere that was soft and light in color, and by the subtle provocation of a jacket resting on the waist and the hips, with long, double skirts.
In 1990 once again the jacket was the focal point, slim, wrapped, with small shoulders and a marked waist. The skirts were short or to the calf, the trousers sometimes straight and severe or else full like a man’s. It was a choice of dusty, sharp colours, though tempered by the greys and sandy earth tones typical of the Armani palette. In addition, there were the great envelopping overcoats such as the Tunisian djellaba.
In 1992 smoking was the season’s trademark, variously interpreted in combination with extremely feminine fabrics and details. New flexibilities, new concessions, very new luxury. Elegant fabrics used in casual clothes was a special characteristic of 1994, enhanced by a color palette in ruby inspired by Matisse. Waistcoats peep out under jackets; trousers are as long as they can be, and long skirts trimmed with fringes take center stage. Evening dresses display an imperious elegance in their colors and precious fabrics, yet with shapes reduced to the essentials.
The Autumn-Winter 1996 Collections showed great refinement and a love for structure which revealed itself in the ankle-length overcoats with velvet facings and matelassé lining. The repeated and refined use of fabrics cut on-the-bias, caressing the body, is more popular than ever. Also the favorites of the evening, from the “boldinian” style dress in silk velvet tied at the neck by a necklace of roses, to the sheath dress in black stretch tulle with tatoo embroidery.
The year 1997 saw the arrival of “sophisticated grege,” a new shade between grey and beige. Lean shapes, small proportions, a symbolic simplicity. Refined fabrics such as plissé wools, matelassé, and double crêpe. For the evening, everything is precious: graphic embroidery in ivory, ebony, lace, and velvet. The style is by now more and more defined and authoritative. It doesn’t change. What do change are the methods, the movements, and the details, with greatest importance given to refinement in materials and the finishing touches of master tailoring, which combined to make sophistication the main idea of the season.
During 1998-1999 evening is more and more the singular moment, with embroidered dresses inspired by oriental porcelains. The jackets, slim, without lapels, and with fastenings that are hidden and often on the side, have lost the connection with tailored suits and are worn even with long dresses, low-waist trousers, and long, straight skirts in order to accentuate the silhouette. And there are plenty of dustcoats, a series of overcoats cut like jackets, which are long and slinky.
In September of 1999 Giorgio Armani SpA opened the accessories division, with the goal of improving their results in leather goods. Dawn Mello & Associates entrusted with the account for the new division. The commercial structure of the Group (direct and franchising), operating in 33 countries, includes 53 Giorgio Armani Boutiques, 6 Collezioni stores, 129 Emporio Armani, 48 A/X Armani Exchange, and 4 Armani Jeans.
2000 – 2005
For 2000 the image is strong, consistent, glamorous, pure, and precise. The collection is love at first sight with English pastel shades and a special regard for black. Ankle-length skirts, short jackets with wide kimono sleeves, jackets cut like Indian blouses, slim trousers under tunics and extra-large trousers with a man’s shirt. A refined evening with the new idea of “light catchers” made of stretch tulle worked in the shape of a web, with a deliberately consistent choice of clear and sharp lines on the body.
The Armani woman entered the third millennium with an allure that was modern and sparkling, with one eye on the use and management of style, and the other on the passions of the young. The Armani woman is always aware that the power of her own image lay in the unbeatable Armani style, with his special colors, a skillful line and expert cut. This is a woman gliding with lightness, grace and incomparable class, leaving behind her the inevitable strains of a modernism that is often coarse or simply too ugly. The latest Collection, already looking toward the new millennium, G.A. Man in Spring-Summer 2000, has reconfirmed the primary place Giorgio Armani in the men’s wear industry.
Femininity and romanticism: from these two words Armani’s new woman was born. The look came out for Winter 2001-2002 and evoked the emotion of a debutante’s ball with skirts of frilly tulle and handkerchiefs of organza cut on the bias worn with long pullovers inspired by the sea or with small tops. Graceful girls paraded past, as if dancing on pointe: “Ballet is the apotheosis of elegance”, said the designer. Everything was delicate and ethereal, seeming to hint at dreamy sensations. The show’s finale was memorable, with 30 real ballet dancers posing like those of Degas. It confirmed what had been seen in the previous season, with tailored pantsuits characterized by an unusual sweetness, a vague re-collection of the manager-woman. The soft mood was also more in evidence in the shows that followed. And the classic blazer? It adapted to the new trend and in Summer 2003 became longer, almost a tailcoat waving on a slender body. Unusual pieces broke the familiar rhythm of the ensembles, sensuality was all on edge without any exotic nostalgia or erotic aggression.
In Autumn-Winter 2003-2004 Armani again changed course. His designs gave the body a new outline, emphasizing it and caressing a waist made prominent by short and close-fitting jackets. Then, in a surprise, he pays tribute to women’s legs with triangular miniskirts and shorts, a gentle reinterpretation of the hot pants of the 1970s. It was a very stylish woman, almost dipped in ink, in the severity of black broken up by lines of white, for an evocative graphic effect. As usual, his clothes needed to be admired up close, for the sophisticated details and refined fabrics. It was like a heaven of embroidery. He lowered the age of the fashion-conscious, which the Emporio line accentuated through the impertinent and teasing style of the French tomboy, with everything made “short.” His men’s style was also updated, an image somewhere between reason and sentiment, the silent revolutionary of a new classicism that still observed the rules of comfort, particularly in his knitwear creations.
In January 2000 Giorgio Armani SpA raises its stake in Giorgio Armani Japan Co. Ltd., a joint venture founded in 1995, to 85% of the shares, leaving the remaining 15% to Itochu. Then, in February the birth of Armani Collezioni which brings together, in Europe and in Asia, the already-existing Giorgio Armani, Collezioni Uomo and Mani Donna. The new label is also introduced in the U.S., while the Mani Uomo line of suits and shirts remains solely in the American market. Later, in June the Armani Group purchases for 55 billion liras from GFT the manufacturing business of the men’s line Armani Collezioni as well as its distribution and sales in the U.S.
In July Armani Group and Zegna Group agree to create a joint venture (51% to Armani, 49% to Zegna) to manufacture and distribute the Armani Collezioni lines. The goal is to exploit to the maximum the potential of the Armani Collezioni Uomo brand throughout the world, and the Mani Uomo brand in the U.S., using the manufacturing and organizational skills of both groups.
New Store Openings
The opening of new stores continues. In October an Armani shop opens at via Manzoni 31, in Milan. Designed by Studio Gabellini Associates, in collaboration with Armani himself, the megastore has some 80,000 square feet on three floors. The 1,000 square foot basement is used to sell electronics, especially by Sony. On the ground floor are Emporio Donna, Emporio Uomo, Emporio Accessori, a space dedicated to perfumes, and Armani Jeans for men and women. On the second floor, in addition to the restaurant Nobu and to Armani Caffé there is Armani Casa. The year 2000 shows consolidated revenues of 2,002 billion liras, a 20% increase compared to 1999, a gross margin of 374 billion liras, a net consolidated profit of 235 billion liras, an 11% increase, and a net worth amounting to 618 billion liras.
In February 2001 the first Giorgio Armani Accessori boutique opens at via della Spiga 19, Milan. The boutique includes high-quality bags, shoes and leather goods. Later in May, Giorgio Armani SpA, already owner of 53.2% of the capital stock of Simint Spa, an Italian company listed on the Electronic Stock Exchange, announces a tender offer for the Simint common stock that it does not already own. The price offered per share is €6.2. The goal is to activate a process of internationalizing the production and marketing activities of Armani products within the companies of the Group. As of July, the result of the bid for Simint, is that 39.49% of Simint’s shares are added to the 53.24% already owned by the Armani Group, thus giving Armani control of 92.73% of the company.
Giorgio Armani in Japanese Market
In 2001, Giorgio Armani Japan, founded in 1987 as a joint venture with Itochu Corporation, reorganized its retail activities in Japan. The program entailed the reopening, after a thorough renovation, of the world’s largest Armani store, in a manner consistent with the image of the new Armani boutiques on via Sant’Andrea in Milan, on Place VendÂme in Paris, and in Kioi-cho, Tokyo. Then new Emporio Armani stores were opened in Marunouchi and Aoyama, and the Emporio Armani in Midosuji was renovated. The Japanese market ranked third in order of importance after the U.S. (34%) and Italy (15%). Giorgio Armani Japan distributes five lines belonging to the Armani Group: Giorgio Armani, Giorgio Armani Accessori, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans. The company manages 22 shops; 10 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 1 Armani Collezioni shop and 11 Emporio Armani. The Giorgio Armani and Armani Collezioni lines are also sold through the shop-within-a-shop formula.
In July of 2001 Roberto Pesaro was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Giorgio Armani Corporation. One month later, Armani opened its first boutique in Rusia, in Moscow at no. 1 Tretyakovsky Lane. It was the 33rd point-of-sale opened by Armani in the year 2001, resuming the strategy of expanding the exclusive retail network. Twenty shops were completely renovated. A new joint venture, Borgo 21, was created to develop the top line of the Armani brand.
The year ended with Consolidated revenues reached €1,272 million, an increase of 23% which included all the geographic areas and all the lines. The turnover was distributed as follows: Europe 45%, North America 28%, Asia-Pacific and rest of the world 27%. The net consolidated profit was €110 million, the net worth €122 million, with investments of €307 million.
In January 2002 Armani acquires 100% of Miss Deanna, a firm specialized the production of high quality knitwear. Then, in November the Armani-Chater House megastore in Hong Kong opened, with 30,000 square feet on three floors, second in size only to the one on via Manzoni in Milan. Meanwhile, Armani Group and Luxottica Group ended their licensing agreement for the production and distribution of glasses in the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani lines.
The yearly results showed growth in the main indicators. The consolidated turnover, €1,301 million, showed a 2.3% increase compared to 2001. The induced turnover, €1,691 million, grew 6.4%. There was considerable growth in Emporio Armani Watches, 24%, and in cosmetics, 11%. Profits before tax, €199 million, grew 9.7%. Also noteworthy were investments of €87 million, devoted, among other things, to the expansion of the distribution network (30 new stores and 16 renovations) and to the acquisition of manufacturing plants. Finally, the Group invested 10% of the induced turnover communications.
Licensing and Co-branding
In February 2003 the Group gave Sàfilo a long-term license for the production and worldwide distribution of the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani watch Collections. At the same time, the Group’s exclusive distribution network comprised 57 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 12 Armani Collezioni shops, 115 Emporio Armani shops, 66 A/X Armani Exchange shops, 10 Armani Jeans shops, 5 Armani Junior shops, and 12 Armani Casa shops, in 35 countries around the world.
Then, in June the Giorgio Armani boutique on via Condotti in Rome reopened after a total renovation. Armani himself worked on the restyling along with the architect Claudio Silvestrin. Also, Mercedes-Benz and Giorgio Armani entered into a joint venture for the creation of the Mercedes-Benz CLK Giorgio Armani Design Car. Armani said,
“Mercedes-Benz has achieved extraordinary fame for the quality, style and elegance of its cars. For me, it’s been very interesting to observe how similar our design philosophies and system of working are. This makes me think that in the future there will be more opportunities to carry out common projects which can develop our respective strengths.”
In October, John Hooks was appointed the new President of Giorgio Armani Japan and Giorgio Armani continued as commercial director of the group. Then, the third and largest of Armani’s multi-concept stores, the Armani/Funf-Hofe, was opened on Theatinerstrasse in Munich, joining in the Armani on via Manzoni in Milan and the Armani/Chater House in Hong Kong. The economic-financial results for 2003 were brilliant. The consolidated turnover €1,255 million grew 3% at constant exchange rates. The net profit of €134 million increased 14%. Also excellent was the increase in net worth which grew 149%, In 2002, it grew to €264 million. In the same year the company invested €38 million, mainly in distribution, with 30 new sales points opened and 11 restyled.
Armani Hospitality and Distribution Network Expansions
In February 2004, the Armani group diversified into luxury hotels. It signed with EMAAR Properties PJSC, the largest real estate company in the Middle East, a memo of understanding for the creation of Armani resorts and luxury hotels. The collaboration called for the opening of ten hotels and four resorts within seven years. The total investment was projected at about 1 billion dollars. EMAAR was to manage the construction and managerial aspects and Armani would be responsible for style and design. In March, the company signed a multi-year license agreement with Wolford AG for the production and worldwide distribution of the Giorgio Armani hosiery line. Later in April. The fourth multi-concept store was opened in the Three on the Bund, Shanghai. Followed by an Armani store opened in Dubai.
Later, in July Fortune Magazine published a list of the 25 most powerful men in European business. Giorgio Armani was the only Italian, ranked number 25. Then, in August New Emporio Armani stores opened in Riga and Shanghai, one month later a shop with the new Emporio Armani concept opened in Paris.
“The new design of the Emporio Armani in St. Germain belongs to a strategy aimed at strengthening and differentiating the various product lines and at creating an environment in which the store’s architecture lends support to the presentation of the Collections in a way that is modern and accessible to the clients.” Giorgio Armani.
In September an Armani Jeans shop opened in Corso di Porta Ticinese in Milan. It was designed by the architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas. An Armani Jeans Café was opened inside. Also, at the Armani boutique on Maidson Avenue, the model Eugenia Silva organized a charity sale for the benefit of the American Museum of Natural History. Meanwhile, Armani was given the Superstar Award at the Night of Stars Awards of Fashion Group International.
The year of 2004 closed with a turnover of €1,299 billion, an increase of 6.5% at constant exchange rates and 3.5% at current exchange rates. The net profit was €126 million, a slight decline -5.2% compared the previous year. The net worth was €397 million, an excellent increase of 50.3% over the €264 million of 2003. Investments were €50 million, of which €35 million was used for the opening of 16 new stores and the restyling of the existing ones.
The First Haute Couture Collection
In January 2005, the designer made his début in haute couture, presenting in Paris the first Giorgio Armani Privé Collection. Thirty-one clothes in pure Armani style, very precious and unique. This year also witnessed the company’s 30th anniversary, to celebratied anniversary and in honour of his historic friendship with actress Michelle Pfeiffer, Giorgio Armani commissions famous photographer Mario Testino to create a series of shots of the actress for the women’s spring/summer 2005 collection catalogue, which are signed by the designer.
In June 2005 Armani designed the uniforms of the crew of the Bribon, the new sailing ship of the King of Spain. The first quarter registered growth in direct sales in company-owned stores of 16% compared to the first quarter of 2004. In particular, sales in China increased 52%, in Japan 15%, in Europe 10%, and in the U.S. 3%. At the same month, a new single-brand Armani Casa store opened at via Manzoni, 37 in Milan.
Armani was appointed Designer of the Year by the Fashion Editors Club of Japan. Later, the Giorgio Armani retrospective exhibition moved from the Guggenheim to the Mori Art Museum of Tokyo. For the occasion, the men’s and women’s Collections of Autumn-Winter 2005-2006 were presented. The show was followed by the first presentation of Armani’s haute couture Collection. So far, the group had 4,700 workers, 13 production plants, 58 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 11 Armani Collezioni stores, 121 Emporio Armani stores, 70 A/X Armani Exchange stores, 12 AJ/Armani Jeans stores, 6 Armani Junior stores, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessories store, and 17 Armani Casa stores, distributed in 37 countries throughout the world. The group’s brand are: Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ/Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani Casa.
Armani Designs for English National Soccer Team
In May 2004 Armani dressed the English national soccer team for its tour of exhibition matches in the U.S. June. Armani designed the uniforms of the crew of the Bribon, the new sailing ship of the King of Spain.
Today Armani has five lines: Borgonuovo 21, G.A., Collezioni Mani, AX (basic fashions sold in the shop of the same name in the U.S.) and Armani Jeans, plus the linen, underwear and swimwear lines.
2005 until Now
Supporting Charity Events
During the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January, Armani announces its participation in (PRODUCT) RED, the revolutionary global initiative launched by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise funds for the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. In support of RED, Armani designs its first two products for (Emporio Armani) RED, consisting of a pair of sunglasses and a watch. Moreover, the Emporio Armani women’s collection for spring/summer 2007 is presented at London fashion week instead of in Milan, during an exclusive fashion and music event that also celebrates the launch of the first Emporio Armani (PRODUCT) RED capsule collection. Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Bono, 50 Cent and Leonardo DiCaprio are just some of the celebrities who take part in this presentation, which is called One Night Only. At the end of the year, Giorgio Armani receives the Leonardo 2006 Award from President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, as an important representative of quality Italian products abroad.
Launch of Cosmetics Line
In 2007, Giorgio Armani launched Crema Nera, the first product of the skincare line, along with Attitude, the new fragrance for men and Diamonds. Emporio Armani’s new feminine scent, the advertising campaign for which features Beyoncé. The Giorgio Armani retrospective exhibition arrives in Milan at the Triennale Museum. Meanwhile, The Giorgio Armani Privé spring/summer 2007 runway moved to Los Angeles to coincide with the 79th Academy Awards. Giorgio Armani opens its fourth concept store worldwide in Ginza, Tokyo, called Armani/Ginza Tower.
New Stores in Asian Market
Next year, Giorgio Armani entered the Indian market with the first Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani stores in New Delhi. Also, the first Emporio Armani stores are opened in Moscow and Beijing. On the other hand, in the Europe market, the largest Giorgio Armani boutique in the world opens in Milan on Via Montenapoleone, as well as the lauch of Emporio Armani e-commerce site in Europe, and the Emporio Armani Samsung Night Effect mobile phone. Emporio Armani Underwear for women is launched in the United States. Giorgio Armani becomes an honorary member of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York during the opening of the exhibition Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.
Collaborations and Licenses
2012, At the Cannes Film Festival, Giorgio Armani launches a one-year collaboration with J/P HRO (Haitian Relief Organization), which includes an exclusive media campaign in which the designer and Sean Penn pose together for the first time. During women’s Fashion Week, the designer opens Eccentrico at the Armani/Teatro in Milan, an exhibition of clothing and accessories from 1985 to 2012, which embodies a point of fusion between art, fashion and design. The Armani Group signs an exclusive license agreement with Luxottica for the design, production and worldwide distribution of the collections of sunglasses and prescription eyewear under the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange brands. In collaboration with the Astas Holding/Bemes group, the completion of the project Maçka Residences is announced, which includes the development of an exclusive residential area in the centre of Istanbul.
One Night Only Series of Events
The same year also sees the celebration of the Armani Group’s 10-year anniversary in China, which is marked with an event: One Night Only Beijing. In 2013, Giorgio Armani continues the successful One Night Only series of events, first in Rome and then in New York, where on October 24, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaims it Giorgio Armani Day. The following year, Giorgio Armani presents One Night Only Paris
Armani Designs for Team Italy
In 0213 Giorgio Armani also announces the continuation of the brand’s agreement with the Olympic Committee, confirming that Armani will be the Official Outfitter of Team Italy for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. And in May of 2014, Giorgio Armani continues his long-standing relationship with the world of international football announcing the collaboration with Bayern Munich to create the club’s official clothing.
Celebration of 40th Anniversary
2015 marks Giorgio Armani Group’s 40th anniversary, earlier in this year, Giorgio Armani launches New Normal, a continuing and concise collection that creates the ideal wardrobe for today’s woman, and that summarises 40 years of style that have defied the testo of time. Giorgio Armani has been nominated Special Ambassador for Expo Milano.
Later on 30th of April Armani continuing to celebrate with a big party involving 500 guests including VIPs, celebrities, authorities and the international press. The same day Armani/Silos, the large exhibition space dedicated to Giorgio Armani’s professional experience, opened its doors for the first time.
Exhibition at Armani Silos Milano
For this occasion, the Ministry of the Economic Development and Poste Italiane celebrate Giorgio Armani’s 40th anniversary and the opening of the Armani/Silos with the issuance of a dedicated stamp. October 1st marked the launch of Giorgio Armani’s book (published by Rizzoli New York) in which he recounts forty years of career, style, excitement and vision in the first person. The volume was presented to the public on September 28th, at the end of the Giorgio Armani show, by the famous English journalist Suzy Menkes.
In 2016 Giorgio Armani was awarded the “Collare d’oro al merito sportivo” (“Golden Collar for Sports Merit”) as a figure who has stood out for his contribution to the world of sports. On April 14th, Giorgio Armani traveled to Moscow for a series of events celebrating the presence of the Armani Group in Russia. After London 2012 and the Sochi Winter Olympics, the collaboration between Giorgio Armani and the Italian National Olympic Committee continued: EA7 Emporio Armani was, once again, the official outfitter of the Italian Olympic and Paralympic team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. In July, Giorgio Armani announced the creation of the Giorgio Armani Foundation to implement projects of public and social interest and to ensure that the Group’s governance assets are kept stable over time, in respect of and consistent with the principles at the basis of his activities as a designer and an entrepreneur.
In September, at Armani/Silos, “Emotions of the Athletic Body” was inaugurated, the photographic exhibition dedicated to celebrating sports and athletes, curated personally by the designer, drawing from the vast archives of photographs that he himself had commissioned over the years. In September in Paris, Giorgio Armani presents the Emporio Armani Womenswear SS17 collection for the first time during Paris Fashion Week. The two-year partnership between EA7 Emporio Armani and RCS Sport was announced for the Milano Marathon: the sportswear line will be the title & technical sponsor of the 17th annual marathon, which will take place in Milan. The exclusive club, Armani/Privé, was reopened with a completely renovated look.
In 2017 The Giorgio Armani Group announces the reorganization of its portfolio of brands. As from the Spring/Summer 2018 season, the brands will be Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange. Also, Emporio Armani is presented for the first time during London Fashion week for the Spring/Summer 2018 read-to-wear collection and reopened their newly renovated Bond Street store.
In 1835, at the age of fourteen, Louis Vuitton left Anchay, his native village in the Jura Mountains of eastern France, close to the Swiss border. He undertook this long journey by foot, ending up in Paris two years later. Upon his arrival, he was hired as a box maker/packer by Romain Maréchal. This work was based on manufacturing boxes and crates used to pack everyday objects and large wardrobes.
First Boutique in Paris
In 1854 he opened his first leather goods store on rue Neuve-des-Capucines, Paris. He offered very light trunks in poplar wood and baggage more suitable for the new means of transport. Then, he began to attract the admiration of fashionable people. His designs were ergonomic, made for strength, and lightness. His perfection of the flat trunk is now considered the beginning of modern luggage.
Beginning in 1859, the Asnières site, both a family residence and workshop of the company, is born. Still today, Asnières is a symbol of the Vuitton family’s personal and commercial success.
His skill is noted by Empress Eugenia of Montijo, who calls him to make his luggage. This experience helped him to understand that the old luggage used during the time of horse and bugee, with a curved form cover, had become useless obsolete. So, they decided on a modern type of luggage, which could be used in the trains, the new way of transport
Son Georges & Grandson Gaston
Louis Vuitton continuously innovates fabrics and patterns to protect the products from counterfeiting. In 1875, the creation of the first vertical wardrobe trunk, with each part being thoughtfully designed, guaranteed the success of a company already specializing in travel.
In 1886, Georges Vuitton, created the tumbler lock, an ingenious closing system. A major invention that allowed the same customer to open each piece of luggage with a single key. Later, in 1888, the Damier Canvas pattern is introduced and trademarked. Tragically, in 1892, Louis Vuitton sadly passes away and his son Georges officially takes over the company, along with his grandson Gaston-Louis.
The Monogram Canvas is Born
In 1896, the birth of the famous Monogram canvas. Louis Vuitton’s son, Georges, created the “Monogram”, a small piece of cloth printed with the initials LV that guaranteed the originality of the product. Also, he patented waxed cloth bags, like the “steamer bag.” Louis Vuitton’s grandson, Gatson, began to collect travel items and old luggage dating back to the 16th century. These pieces are now part of the collections at Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris.
Members of the aristocracy and royalty never traveled without their own special Louis Vuitton trunks and cases, for example, the Prince of Egypt Youssouf Kemal, and the Sultan Ismaïl Pacha.
For Luigi Barzini and Scipione Borghese who, in 1907, organized the Beijing-Paris car race, the maison designed rainproof cases. The trunk of the explorer Savorgnan de Brazza could even contain a camp bed, and the one made for the opera singer Lily Pons could hold 36 pairs of shoes. The trunk designed for the orchestra conductor Léopold Stokowski contained a little desk with a small table and shelves for books and music.
In 1914 Georges Vuitton unveiled a shop along the Champs Élysées in an Art Nouveau palace that became the symbolic store of the maison. Through this time the brand grew into pure luxury and in 1983 Louis Vuitton began to sponsor one of the most famous and prestigious sailing competitions.
Louis Vuitton Merges with Moët-Hennessy
Since 1959, the company’s production has expanded to include a line of bags, small leather goods, and accessories. In 1987 the company Louis Vuitton merged with Moët-Hennessy to become the colossal multinational company LVMH. Its first important acquirement came the following year: The Maison Givenchy. Bernard Arnault, in 1989, became president and starting in 1993, LVMH started acquiring diverse fashion houses Christian Lacroix, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Fendi, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan.
In 1998 the artistic director of the brand became Marc Jacobs, who launched in his first year the first prêt-à-porter apparel line. In the same year, the company launched a “City Guide” line of luxury travel guides in the major cities of the world; Berlin, Athens, London, Moscow, Rome and Paris.
The following year, the men’s line was introduced. Marc Jacobs work consisted in revitalizing the brand, instilling an aspect of fashion that was new. Fundamental steps in this direction were the collaborations with artists like Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami that reworked the classic LV logo redecorating it with glaring modifications. Thanks as well to the advertising campaigns that used celebrities like Madonna and Jennifer Lopez, the brand was able to become an inspiration in the eyes of a public ranging from 20 to 70 years old.
Louis Vuitton City Guides
Megastores were opened in London, New York and in 2000 a flagship store in Hong Kong. In 2002 Louis Vuttion registered a turnover of €4,194 million and operating results of €1,297 millions. All markets grew: Europe (+8%), USA (+12%), Japan (+15%). At the end of the year there were 299 own-brand shops. Of these, 7 were new: 1 each in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, Moscow, Amsterdam, Macao, and Germany, the restyled and reorganized stores numbered about 30.
In December 2002 Yves Carcelle became the president of Louis Vuitton. By 2003, the company sold goods in 50 countries exclusively through more than 300 boutiques of its own property. By April, Louis Vuitton opened its first shop in New Delhi, India. Later, in September 2004, the Shanghai store, the largest store in the Asia-Pacific area, was restyled. Louis Vuitton had 13 shops in China. At this point, Louis Vuitton was arriving in South Africa and India. Serge Brunschwig, head of South-East Asia sector says,
“The future markets are India and South Africa. We are preparing big marketing operations and the opening of stores. In this way we create an emotional impact and start to introduce the Louis Vuitton universe into the luxury niches of new consumer markets.”
Overall, the brand has 335 own-brand, own- property stores all over the world. “To mark the company’s 150 years, we have accelerated the expansion project with 21 new openings, from the New York Building on the Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, to Osaka and Shanghai.”
New Collections & Campaigns
In the 2005 campaign, the actress Uma Thurman became Louis Vuitton’s new testimonial. Later, in July, the diversification process of the French brand continued. After a line of jewelry was launched, Louis Vuitton eyewear (sunglasses) made their appearance. Zeiss is the chosen partner to produce high protection lenses.
Louis Vuitton launched new icon purses including one in Nomad Leather, a Monogram Mini Lin line, Damier Azur line, along with the new edition of the icon locks in 2006. The company published a book ‘Louis Vuitton, Icons’ by Edition Assouline. Also, new openings occurred with the Louis Vuitton House in Manhattan and Taiwan.
In 2007 The exhibition, Takashi Murakam, occurred along with a temporary opening of the Louis Vuitton boutique in a museum. This year also marked an iconic collaboration of Marc Jacobs and Richard Prince. The ‘Ultimate Travel Bag’ was created, and the Core Values Advertisement Campaign with Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Catherine Deneuve, and Mikhail Gorbachev debuted. This year also saw the opening of the first store in Cyprus, Greece.
In 2008 The Damier collection launched a new Graphite Damier line. Also, the company celebrates the 10th anniversary of the City Guides collection. Sofia Coppola is honored with a collection under her name that is launched in Tokyo. Stephen Sprouse in New York is celebrated with a tribute in his honor. In Auckland, New Zealand, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series takes place. Another inauguration for the Takashi Murakami exhibition of Guggenheim Bilbao is admired.
Faithful to its heritage, Louis Vuitton has opened its doors to architects, artists and designers across the years. Also while developing disciplines such as ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches, jewelry and stationery. These carefully created products are testament to the company’s commitment to fine craftsmanship.
The success of the Louis Vuitton label is based on grand French style, which recognizes the beauty of an object in its function and mobility. Louis Vuitton has brought unique designs to the world, combining innovation with style, always aiming for the finest quality.
The commercial policy is based on exclusivity, especially to combat against the rising attempts at falsification. For this reason, the fashion house’s products can only be acquired in their single brand stores or online at their official website www.louisvuitton.com. The brand’s attention isn’t limited just to the fashion system: interested in new trends, Louis Vuitton runs a cultural space at 101 Champs Élysées where young artists are left to propose and promote their art.
In 2010 Louis Vuitton published the book 100 Malles de Légende, a work that traces the story of the maison through a photographic support of more than 800 shots.
In February 2011, the first app of Louis Vuitton was launched, following the collaboration of the brand with Apple. “Look at the world through the eyes of Louis Vuitton”, the brand’s motto that they presented to refined travelers from every corner of the world. Vuitton’s success was unstoppable. Also, their campaign, “City Guide,” the line of luxury travel guides, updated a 2011 edition with new and unexpected cities like Porto Cervo, Beirut, Courchevel, Gstaad, Oxford, Palma de Mallorca and Thessaloniki.
2014 is another turning point, when Marc Jacobs, the creative director of the maison, is replaced by Nicolas Ghesquière, the French fashion designer discovered in 1997 by Balenciaga. The brand’s attention is not only directed at the fashion system: the interest in new trends has led the brand to open a cultural space on the Champs Élysées, where young artists have the opportunity to propose and promote their art.
Louis Vuitton, in 2016 has an estimated $ 20 billion value, and is at number 19 of Forbes’ list of the 100 most prestigious brands in the world.
Today, the Maison remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, Louis Vuitton, who invented a genuine “Art of Travel” through luggage, bags and accessories which were as creative as they were elegant and practical. Since then, audacity has shaped the story of Louis Vuitton.
Currently, Nicolas Ghesquière remains the Creative Director of Women’s Collections. Also, Kim Jones remains the Creative Director of Men’s Collections.