Glawmire Guest Blogger: Giorgio Armani <BR>(A Designer From Milan)

Photo Courtesy Giorgio Armani

This week’s guest blogger is none other than the 謩nence grise of Italian design, Giorgio Armani. As the president, chief executive and sole shareholder of the multi-billion-dollar company he founded in 1975, Armani is the wealthiest fashion designer on the planet. He has defined the working wardrobe of the late-20th century and will go down in history as the man who taught Hollywood how to dress. His new 5th Avenue Store opens tonight.

Ciao, New York! I just arrived this weekend for the opening of my new Fifth Avenue store, which I am celebrating on Tuesday night. I am stra-contento to be here. I flew in from Milan, on Alitalia, and I must say that the service was impeccable. The staff was very well mannered and elegant. I was in first class and ate a very nice breakfast and then went right to sleep. Frankly, I was exhausted. It’s been a crazy, difficult month. We just had the couture show in Paris, and right before that the men’s fashion show in Milan. After this trip, I go straight back to Milan for the women’s show. It’s intense.

I don’t particularly like traveling, but my staff takes very good care of me, which makes it more bearable. When I landed, I waited in the passport control line with everyone else. I had a few problems with the fingerprint machine and had to roll my finger over it four times. The guy looked up at me, then at my passport, then at me again and waved me off, saying, “I know you are Armani.”

My usual driver, Jonathan, was waiting to pick me up outside in a small black Audi. It was a nice car, but I told him to bring a van tomorrow. Please, I need more room. We drove into the city at 2 p.m., and it was a beautiful day. Even in this difficult time, New York is always the same gorgeous New York. With fewer people, though, I’ve noticed. The streets feel empty.

I have an apartment on Central Park West, which makes me feel like a real New Yorker. It’s a penthouse with terraces all around. When I bought it about eight years ago, we were just launching Armani Casa so it’s furnished with the very first pieces I created for the line. The building is from the 1920s so I also used additional furnishings from that period without, obviously, making it look staged.

I sleep very well in that house, but there’s one big problem: too much light. I’ve noticed that Americans never block out the light properly in bedrooms. In Europe we like to close ourselves off in the dark. I took care of that problem by putting in black-out curtains and now I sleep like a baby.

I arrived in town on St. Valentine’s Day, but, frankly, who cares? I am all about love but do not like commercial holidays. It’s just based on selling things … cards, chocolates. I realize I’m a businessman and I have to make Valentine’s Day windows but I don’t like it. I’m part of the system and so I adapt.

On Saturday night, I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Scarpetta with my niece Roberta and a small group of my close Italian friends. I liked the d袯r and the food was pretty good, but you know the service was a bit slow. I ate spaghetti con pomodoro and basilico — and, here, I must interject something for your benefit. Americans overcook their pasta. Always. And there’s too much sauce. Too much of everything! Please, try to control yourselves.

The fun thing is that the group I was with thought I wanted to go home right after dinner but I said, “What are you talking about? I want to go out and see what’s going on.” They took me to a club called Cielo. We stayed until 2 a.m., and many people were surprised to see me and asked for photos and autographs. Such friendly people. The music was incredible and I had a lot of fun. While I sipped on a vodka, I noticed that the crowd was dressed in a rather basic way. In Europe, the people you see at clubs are extremely beautiful to look at and are wearing very elegant clothes. I don’t know, maybe I went to the wrong club.

I’ll give you an update on my store later. For now, I’m off to La Goulue. Let’s see how the Americans tackle French food.

A presto!
Giorgio Armani

P.S.: I am really excited about the party at my store on Tuesday night. In addition to Victoria Beckham, Alicia Keys, Josh Hartnett and John Mayer, I just found out that the actor Emile Hirsch from “Milk” and my good friends Martin and Helen Scorsese are coming. Che bello!

Four Fashion Headlines: March 19, 2008

Calling Amy

Could Amy Winehouse, who couldn’t make it to the Grammy Awards last month due to visa issues, be crossing the pond for the Costume Institute gala on May 5? The Mirror of London reported on Monday that Winehouse has been offered 500,000 pounds ? or about $1 million ? to perform at the benefit and, according to the tabloid, gala host Giorgio Armani asked co-chairs George Clooney and Julia Roberts to sign her on. Winehouse’s London rep declined comment, but a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Museum of Art said, “Amy Winehouse is one of a number of artists who have been considered for the entertainment portion for the Costume Institute gala. It’s incorrect that she was offered payment. It’s a benefit, so no one is being paid.”

Despite Stock Market’s Jump, Few Mega M&A Deals Seen in ’08

Retail rode Wall Street’s roller coaster on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve Board’s interest rate cut sent the market zooming. But daily thrill rides aside, the lack of credit could dry up any major deals in the industry for the foreseeable future.

Print Dresses, Colored Trenches Top Spring Sales

Retailers may be worried about the economy and Wall Street’s woes, but the arrival of spring fashions should offer some hope.

In the Trenches: The GLAMWIRE Trench Coat Report

Reed Krakoff and Phillip Lim are out to reinvent the trenchcoat. The two met through the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. In 2007 Lim won the CFDA Swarovski women’s wear award for his two-year-old contemporary label, 3.1 Phillip Lim. Krakoff is vice president of the CFDA. “He’s not only amazingly talented, but has a great personality,” said Krakoff. “He really understands great American design and the trench is an iconic piece of American outerwear.” The two concocted a long belted suede trench that will retail for $1,798 and a short leather one that will sell for $1,298. Outerwear is a growing category for Coach, which has also partnered with designers such as Lutz & Patmos for knits and Eugenia Kim for hats. “It’s part of our moving forward and staying fresh,” added Krakoff of the burgeoning categories. “We’re starting to add more clothing.” The coats will be available in Coach stores starting in August.

Other headliners today: Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Channel, Louis Vuitton, Clavin Klein, Calvin Klein, prada, Hermes, Dior, Tod’s, In Full bloom, Lisa Perry,David Yurman, General Petreus, Dolce And Gabbana. Hilfiger,Cole Haan, Genevieve Collection. Burberry,Donna KAran, Kate Moss, Botetga Veneta, Miu Miu, Lord & Taylor AND Richie From Totally Cool Magazine

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