Ciao! (Glamwire Hall of Fame #1)

Giorgio Armani was born July 11, 1934, in Piacenza, Italy. One of three children, Armani had his heart set on becoming a doctor. After graduating high school, a young Armani headed to medical school at the University of Bologna, but after 2 years he realized that medicine — specifically the sight of blood — was not for him.

With some previous experience in photography and a brief time in the military, Armani was hired as a window-dresser and then a buyer for La Rinescente; Milan’s largest department store. Armed with merchandising experience and a desire to design, Armani was then hired as an assistant designer for Nino Cerruti’s men’s clothing company, Hitman, for 6 years.

It was then time to take his work to a more independent level. Before the Armani line, as we know it today, was established, the man behind the eagle label worked as a freelance designer after having gained experience at Carutti and also Ungaro and Zegna.

In 1975, along with partner Sergio Galeotti, Armani founded his own men’s ready-to-wear line, while the women’s wear followed a year later. It took selling a Volkswagen to help finance the label, which has grown into the billion-dollar industry it is today.

By combining elegance with a sophisticated style, Armani succeeded by giving sports jackets a sportswear feel and making the tailoring less severe.

His design philosophy follows 3 golden rules: eliminate the superfluous, emphasize the comfortable, and acknowledge the elegance of the uncomplicated.

With more than 2000 stores worldwide and billions of dollars in annual sales, many adhere to Armani’s philosophy. It’s this success that explains why he has houses in Broni, Forte dei Marmi and Pantelleria in Italy, and St. Tropez in the French Riviera. When not in either of these homes, Armani is busy working at Armani’s head office, Via Borgonuovo, 21, 20121 Milan.

In addition to the multitude of awards, Armani’s 25 years in the industry were honored by New York’s Guggenheim Museum — and he’s the only designer whose work is displayed there.

Armani revolutionized fashion by changing the definition of men’s power suits, altering the way women dressed, and by proving that luxurious doesn’t mean uncomfortable and busy. Synonymous with understated chic, Armani and his eagle logo have soared through fashion history — and will probably remain there for years to come. Of yeah, check out GA’s own amazing After xmas sale: up to 70 percent off through January 3, ’07 at particapiating Armani Exhange boutiques!

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