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Giorgio Armani, 74, is Chief Executive Officer of the Armani Group and sole shareholder of Giorgio
Armani S.p.A. (Armani), one of the world's leading fashion and lifestyle design houses, with 5,000 direct
employees, 13 factories, and a direct network of 500 exclusive retail stores in 46 countries worldwide.
Under Mr. Armani's direction, Giorgio Armani S.p.A. is one of the few remaining independent, privately-
owned companies in its sector, with a proven business strategy that has capitalised on the worldwide
power and potential of the Armani brand name.

A child in Mussolini's Italy, Giorgio Armani grew up to be a fashion revolutionary. He liberated men and
women from the straitjacket of traditional tailoring and introduced them to the pleasures of casual chic.
Yet he is himself a perfectionist who wields complete control over what has become a worldwide brand.

Giorgio Armani S.p.A. was founded in Milan on July 24th, 1975 and later that year, the first Giorgio
Armani Borgonuovo 21 ready-to-wear collection was presented. After a successful first year the
Company began to broaden its portfolio of clients and expanded its European presence. 1978 marked
an important turning point in the company's history when it established a licensing agreement with GFT
(Gruppo Finanziario Tessile - Textile Finance Group). GFT was the world's largest manufacturer of
designer clothing, competing at the highest end of the fashion business; its success is rooted in its
history, cutting edge technologies, well-organised labour, GFT single-handedly revolutionized the way
artistic clothing was conceived, manufactured, marketed, and distributed. Its heart was on the pulse of
social trends and needs, keeping it way ahead of its competitors. This licensing agreement resulted in
Giorgio Armani S.p.A. obtaining the opportunity to invest in a new headquarters that included
showrooms and press offices.

In 1979 overseas expansion began by establishing the Giorgio Armani Corporation in the United States.
By the end of the 70s Giorgio Armani S.p.A. had emerged as one of the leading international fashion
houses. In the early 80s Giorgio Armani S.p.A. established an important licence agreement with L'Oreal
(formerly H.Rubinstein) for fragrances and launched the Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans collections.
The company also began to strengthen its commercial and marketing divisions, while building the
values of its brands and the philosophy of management, which continue to be fundamental to the
success of the business today.

In the second half of the 80s, Giorgio Armani S.p.A. continued its overseas expansion by opening
Giorgio Armani Japan in 1987 through a joint venture with Japanese Itochu Corporation and the Seibu
Department Store, followed by the signing of a licensing agreement for eyewear with Luxottica Group
Spa in 1988.

As part of its strategy to maintain control over product quality and distribution, Giorgio Armani S.p.A.
initiated a series of share investments, which today include Intai Spa (100%), Antinea Srl (100%) and
the manufacturing company Simint Spa (100%), the complete acquisition of which was finalised in 2001.

In 1999, a new Accessories Division was created including a first e-commerce presence with in the United States.

In the five years from 1998 to 2003 the Armani Group spent of Euro 600 million of internally generated
funds on strategically important activities, including the evolution of its manufacturing base, the
expansion and renovation of its retail network, the diversification of its product lines and the
enhancement of its headquarters facilities in Milan.

In 2000, Giorgio Armani's, 25th anniversary year, the company launched its global website. In 2001,
continuing with the Group's strategy to take greater control over all aspects of its manufacturing,
distribution and retail activities and to further focus on the 'Made in Italy' content of its brands, a joint
venture company with Vestimenta SpA (manufacturers and distributors of Italian tailored men¶s and
women¶s apparel and one of the Armani Group's licensees since 1979) was formed for the production
and distribution of the men's and women's Giorgio Armani top line. In 2002, the Group's retail
investment programme continued at a fast pace with 16 store renovations and 30 new store openings in
strategically important cities worldwide, including the second Armani multi-brand store covering 3,000
square metres in Hong Kong, which also signalled the launch of a strategic retail expansion programme
for China. On the manufacturing front, two important acquisitions were completed: Deanna S.p.A. for
the production of high quality knitwear and Guardi, which controlled four specialist shoe makers, to
support the further growth of the Group's shoe business. Product line expansion continued with the
launch of Emporio Armani Jewellery; the expansion of the Armani Jeans line in Japan and the United
States; and, the further growth of the Armani Casa brand around the world through the opening of seven
new stand-alone stores in Milan, Istanbul, Zurich, Hong Kong, Moscow, Marbella and Riyadh. Safilo
S.p.A is awarded with a new licence for the production and distribution of Giorgio Armani and Emporio
Armani Eyewear

In 2002 Armani purchased IT based store systems for 28 of its US retail stores. These were used for
store operations management, supporting critical store level activities including receiving, stock
adjustments and transfers. The systems were deployed throughout the stores in a wireless
environment, and deployed using handheld devices within the store.
"Providing our customers with high levels of service is very important," said Stephen Culver, Chief
Information Officer with Giorgio Armani, US. ³The system has provided Armani with a strong store
operations solution that enables real-time information to flow between the store and headquarters.
With this information, we have been able to reduce inventory, improve labor management, and most
importantly, improve customer service´.

In 2005, Armani announced new important strategic initiatives underlining the company's continued
approach to expansion: the launch of Armani Privé couture collection reflecting the increasing desire for
customisation and personalisation at the top end of the market; and the exclusivity of Armani/Privé
expanded its frontiers with the launch of Borgo 21 timepieces. A contractual agreement was signed
between Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and EMAAR Hotels & Resorts LLC for the development of an exclusive
collection of 'Armani Hotels and Resorts'. On the operational side±A|X Armani Exchange purchased a
web-based Product Lifecycle Management and Production Tracking system, e-SPS, to streamline and
integrate product development and global sourcing. This provided real-time visibility into
merchandising, design and production activities from product concept to delivery, streamlining its entire
supply-chain process.

In 2006, the Armani Group announces his support of the (Product) RED, the pioneering global business
initiative launched by Bono and Bobby Shriver for The Global Fund in the fight against AIDS in Africa. In
support of RED, Armani is designing an Emporio Armani (Product) RED capsule collection, including
clothing, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewellery and fragrances.

The world's first Armani Residences opened in the Burj Dubai in 2007 and the first group of apartments
sold out in a few hours., Armani's fourth concept store after Milan, Hong Kong and Munich, was opened
in Tokyo's Armani/Ginza Tower; the store covers 6,000 square metres including the first Armani/Spa.

At the end of October 2008, the Armani Group announced its plans for a 'fast-track' expansion in the
Duty Free and Travel Retail marketplace, declaring its future planned openings at London Heathrow
airport, in Guam's prestigious redevelopment of the DFS Galleria and at Japan's Narita airport.
Meanwhile, another agreement was also established between Giorgio Armani S.p.A and Como
Holdings, Inc. to create a new joint venture company, called Presidio Holdings Ltd., for the management
and expansion of the A/X Armani Exchange brand throughout the world. Finally, a global beauty website

? was launched, demonstrating the company's commitment to embrace
fashion and beauty within the online sphere.

During the same year, a strategic marketing agreement was signed between Giorgio Armani and
Samsung to develop high-end electronic and consumer products, including the launch of a Giorgio
Armani mobile phone, the Armani/Samsung Television and the Emporio Armani Samsung mobile,
"Night Effect ".

The hotels opened in early 2010 and Armani remarked µ³I¶ve been working on this for five years. I¶m
finally going to see what I designed, and it¶s a bit nerve-racking to think that what I liked five years ago
might look old now. ´In ever-changing, constantly evolving Dubai, five years is a long time ± some of
Dubai¶s most iconic buildings, such as the Burj Al Arab and Emirates Towers are only 10 years old.

Out of all these celebrity-endorsed projects, Giorgio Armani is probably the first to make it past the
post. µAs a man used to launching new fashion collections every season, he may indeed worry that
his work now looks a little dated, but his neutral tones and simple minimalist style ± alien to the
region¶s more, how to say it, ³colourful´ tastes ± will offer a pleasant alternative to travellers¶
( April 2010)

From initial sales of $14,000 in its first year, 1975, the company grew to sales of $100m only a
decade later. Today it has an annual turnover of close to $2bn.

Did he really want all this? He did not predict it, he says. "When we started it was just one line, men
and women; it was slow, we had time. It was much less aggressive 20 years ago, more balanced."
But the entire fashion business has changed. Fashion is no longer the exclusive resort of the rich and
whereas once, aside from clothes, it extended only to ephemera - handbags, pens, anything with a
relatively short life, it has grown to embrace every aspect of lifestyle. Everything is susceptible to
fashion now.´

Giorgio Armani was one of the first designers to exploit the marketing power of media stars. He began
a long relationship with Hollywood when he designed Richard Gere's wardrobe for the 1980 film?

A string of other movie credits would accumulate throughout the next two decades,
including?  (1989) and? ?
 (Emporio Armani) and, appropriately,??
? (both
1994). Armani sponsored or provided wardrobes for the musical tours of several pop musicians,
including Paul Simon, Billy Joel, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton.

Armani continues full advantage of the celebrity culture using Lady Gaga, Ronaldo and others to
model his products as well as showing his collections on a variety of social media such as Facebook
and Twitter Armani¶s virtual store in Second Life has been open since 2007, ³ Fashion designer
Giorgio Armani has opened up shop in Second Life, with a store modeled on his flagship location in
Milan, his company said on Wednesday. The silver-haired Armani will send his avatar to celebrate the
opening of the virtual store, and he will be interviewed in the virtual world by fashion Web site¶s fashion director Candy Pratts Price .....³Finally, I can really be in two places at once,´ said
the ever-busy designer said. Second Life residents will be able to buy virtual Armani items with
Linden dollars or connect directly to his recently-launched online store for non-virtual vestments.


Mr. Armani's philosophy of fashion and style, together with his entrepreneurial ability, has been central
to the success of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. He oversees both the company's strategic direction and all

aspects of design and creativity. After thirty years of running his own label, he now presides over a
stable of collections, including his signature Giorgio Armani line, Giorgio Armani Privé, Armani
Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Teen, Armani Junior,
Armani Baby, and Armani Casa home interiors, offering a choice of lifestyles to the marketplace. Today,
the company's product range includes women's and men's clothing, shoes and bags, watches, eyewear,
jewellery, fragrances and cosmetics, and home furnishings.

People in the business are constantly predicting his demise, but it does not happen. He has the
reputation of being something of a potentate. He is also said to be a hard taskmaster - someone who
will not tolerate imperfections but is equally known to pay his staff extremely well. Like a lot of very
successful people, he seems to combine the demagogic with the democratic - he has the common
touch. A friend of his described him to me as "someone who is perfectly sure of who he is and what
he does, and this certainty makes him completely free". Armani¶s response was "that's not clever. You
have to have doubts. I have collaborators I work with. I listen and then I decide. That's how it works."

Armani always travels with a large group. Everyone calls everyone by their first name except for Mr
Armani, who is always referred to and addressed as Mr Armani. He does not speak English, he has
always refused to learn although he is bilingual, in Italian and French

His style became a statement about personal elegance and, of course, he was lucky. The timing of
the rising feminism of the 1970s helped. Clothes had traditionally been seen as a symbol of the
oppression of women. His innovation was casual chic ± it is often said he introduced gentleness to
men, and strength to women. To which other designer would the new female executive, with her
enhanced sense of her own seriousness, turn?

Giorgio is a shy person who does not enjoy the limelight, for example, µat a private lunch, full of
wealthy young potential customers - exactly the clientele you would think he would want to woo - he
retreated into a back room¶. However before a fashion show he spends hours backstage orchestrating
everything from the make-up to the lighting design ± and goes round, with his nervous fastidiousness,
reassuring the models, correcting their walk, touching them, patting their cheeks.

He has been pushed by the fashion conglomerates - in particular, he says, by Bernard Arnault, the
chief executive of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) and Gucci. "The big internationals try to have
everything. They buy everything. Before Mr Arnault it was quieter, certainly." But he likes the
competition. "I have to be better than others. If people hear that my competitors are doing better they
will be very disillusioned."

In 1999, under growing pressure, he completely restructured his management team, bringing in
executives from other fashion houses ± such as his commercial director, John Hooks. He has
invested $700m in buying back factories from licensees in order to have total control over his own
production. He may have missed some opportunities. "He probably should have gone into China
sooner," Hooks says (although Armani was one of the first to have a presence there). "But he has not
made many mistakes. He is a very good entrepreneur. He takes risks." But he has never changed his
ethic. Armani is quoted as stating "I have never compromised. I learned to get where I am by work, I
learned slowly. I was not certain of succeeding."

There is the issue of succession. Who will take over when Armani retires? To be a fashion designer
at 85, he has said, would be absurd. "I say no to many propositions. Things that would have been
convenient for me in one sense. I could have had a lot of money." But so far he has not wanted to
relinquish control. "I have always wanted to be free. For it to be me who decides. Mine is the last
generation who will keep this spirit. I know this. The conglomerates have much more importance now.

It has nothing to do with the person. We speak of Dior but Dior lives no longer. Chanel still exists
thanks to Mr Lagerfeld. I hope Armani can exist without me."

Armani is a rarity from a financial perspective too. Giorgio Armani has been the only shareholder of
the company from its inception has not taken any bank loans... It has been one of those rare
companies which has managed to have very healthy operating profits and ploughed back almost 700
million Euros into the business since 1999. Having this financial independence has helped Armani
immensely as the company tested newer territories. With no pressures from shareholders and without
having to bother about meeting quarterly targets, Armani has been able to operate quite successfully.
Having this kind of financial independence to operate in has been one of the key success factors for

Armani, with its presence in diverse markets, a very wide brand portfolio, and interacting with diverse
set of customers, faces a huge challenge of building a relevant and resonant personality; sustaining
consistent brand personality. With the ever growing competition in the fashion industry and ever
growing brand portfolio, building and nurturing this personality will prove to be a very big challenge for
Giorgio Armani in the future.


During his career Mr. Armani has received many local and international awards. These include the
Commendatore dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica, and Grand'Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito della
Repubblica (Italy's highest government awards), and the Award for Best International Designer, Lifetime
Achievement Award for men's wear and for art and fashion from the Council of Fashion Designers of
America. He has, in addition, been recognised with an Honorary Doctorate from London's Royal College
of Art, and has an Honorary Degree from Milan's Accademia di Brera. In 2006 he was awarded an
Honorary Degree from London's Central Saint Martin¶s College of Art and Design, and in 2007 he
received an Honorary Degree in Industrial Design from the Politecnico University of Milan.

Mr. Armani has served as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
In 2003 he was honoured with the inaugural Rodeo Drive "Walk of Style" Award for his pioneering role
in bringing the worlds of fashion and cinema together. In 2006, Giorgio Armani was honoured with other
important awards: from the Dino Ferrari award for being the most renowned fashion designer in the
world, to the Elle Award given to Mr. Armani in Valencia, and the "Leonardo Award" presented to Mr
Armani by the Italian Presidente della Repubblica, Giorgio Napolitano, in recognition of his status as a
major representative of "Italian Quality" worldwide. In 2008, in Paris, the President of the French
Republic, Nicholas Sarkozy, conferred the order of the Légion d'Honneur on the designer.

In 2000, New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrated the social and cultural influence of
Mr. Armani's career, placing special emphasis on his pioneering design work for the cinema, by staging
an exhibition that has since been seen at some of the world's most prestigious museums, including the
Guggenheim Bilbao, London's Royal Academy of Arts, Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, Rome's Terme di
Diocleziano, Tokyo's Mori Arts Museum and Shanghai's Shanghai Art Museum. On February 20th,
2007, the exhibition reached its eighth venue at the Triennale di Milano in an expanded and enriched
version with a striking new display over two floors.

He is proud of his clients' devotion. "I have never had anything to do with the kind of fashion that is
influenced by the press or identified with the spirit of the season. My clients come for me, they come
back each season for my spirit. That's the reality." And so far the market trend appears to be proving
him right. Because as consumerism grows, so does the power of the consumer. Every purchase
involves a subjective choice, and people have continued to choose Armani


The Italian fashion industry is one of the largest in the world, with revenues of 48 billion euro, 70.000
companies and 700.000 people employed, makes Italy the most active in the world, in terms of
quantity, second only to China, and holds leadership in the prêt-à-porter, even though Italy is not
favoured by significant resources of raw materials or the cost of labour force.
50 years ago, Italy had virtually no fashion industry; no Italian designer enjoyed an international
reputation. The country¶s weathly commissioned their exclusive hand-made clothes from tiny
specialist tailors in Rome, but most Italians found their dressmaking requirements met by small, local,
businesses. Gentlemen ordered suits from traditional bespoke tailors, while their wives and daughters
patronised whichever local dressmaker exhibited the greatest skill in replicating the latest fashions
from Paris. Italian women with less income had to search the markets for fabric and sew their own
clothes at home.

The war years changed everything and provided opportunities. There were three significant
developments at this time. After the second world war, an investment plan, the Marshall Plan, was
implemented to rebuild Europe and to create a stronger economic foundation, new factories were built
in Italy which employed skilled craftspeople who came from the small hill towns of the north and the
vanishing villages of the south and who needed to find work.. The combination of the very latest
machinery with an exceptionally skilled workforce created an unparalleled garment manufacturing

The designers no longer followed the French lead by copying their style but created a fashion identity
that seemed distinctively Italian. This benefited greatly from the huge trend to acquire everything
Italian, from espresso coffee to leather-goods, which was particularly noticeable in America
throughout the post-war years. Unlike the French sophistication, the Italian clothes emphasised
wearable elegance which was particularly appreciated by the Americans. Actresses such as Audrey
Hepburn favoured the glamorous evening dresses and the stylish but simple daywear

At the same time the emerging Italian fashion industry quickly developed an natural marketing flair
together with something what would currently be called brand focus. Talented new designers certainly
showed impressive commercial expertise in addressing an important emerging fashion consumer who
was, as yet, poorly served by more established fashion centres: the post-war working woman.

They also developed an unrivalled ability to produce high quality apparel in luxurious fabrics and Italy
is the which British, French and American designers all entrust the production to of their garments
even though nowadays there are very much cheaper labour markets.

700.000 Italian professionals represent the basic pieces for a process which still needs quality,
specialisation and ability to deliver.

Italians have a reputation for many other fashion items, one of these is leather goods including shoes.

µA recent study by the Italian bank Banca Nazionale di Lavoro (BNL) said that the Italian shoe
industry, which is worth 100 trillion lire ($44 billion), is the largest in the world and accounts for 14.5
percent of footwear production globally¶

Despite the number of large global companies that that can produce shoes cheaply, the Italian
companies are surviving even after a decline in the 1990s; for three years, production fell
significantly, dropping by more than 10 percent in 1999. Since 2001 the country's footwear industry
has been on a rebound.

The downturn, however, caused some smaller businesses to close while others were forced to join
bigger groups to survive. However it also stimulated the Italian industry to reflect on how new
technology and design techniques could improve their business performance.

"A significant part of the recovery in the Italian industry can be seen in the move to increase the
quality of the shoes. The companies reacted to the downturn by investing in research and design so
that innovation in models and colors was a feature of last year's production," said Pulisia Di Falco,
one of the two authors of the BNL study.

Italian shoemakers believe that the Italian artisanal approach can be adapted to more modern
production techniques without losing any of its tradition or style. (adapted from

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