Armani’s stamina and determination are legendary. Being a control freak, he admits, helps too. “To run an enterprise like this, every little detail counts: it’s like nurturing a baby,” he says. “You cannot overlook or underestimate the tiniest detail, or the whole endeavour will fall apart. It is invariably me who points out mistakes and comes up with solutions. I trust the people around me, but I’m the only one making the final decisions.”
Armani still finds it hard to delegate. He is unremittingly hands-on, constantly there, briefing and checking, and making sure that everything falls into place. “Eighty per cent of what I do is discipline – the rest is creativity.”
To put the company in a broader context, according to 2015 figures (the latest available) it had 2,983 global points of sale for all the different lines and employed around 9,000 people worldwide.
“I detest it when fashion turns into costume,” he says bluntly, “and I think most of the things we see today on the catwalks are too fancy.”
Armani has never got carried away with what’s au courant, sticking instead to a vision of sophisticated simplicity. “I have never been interested in being trendy for the sake of it,” he says. “I have my own vision and ideas and am not afraid to go countercurrent. Fashion tides change constantly, after all. There are times when fashion drifts away from my aesthetic beliefs, and there are times when it gets close. I just don’t care.” Still, not even he is absolutely immune to the vicissitudes of fashion. “As time passes, the pressure to change drastically becomes stronger, and so too the effort to maintain my authenticity. It’s a struggle. I am perfectly aware that there is no use in fighting the zeitgeist: if times require vulgarity, so be it. Still, I’ve never been one to think that if something is new, it is automatically right.”
Speaking about his nightclub, Armani said “I did not expect success to be so huge, so much so that now I plan to extend the endeavour to other cities: every major capital in the world should have an Armani/Privé club.” It sounds like a deal, more than a wish.
But what happens to Giorgio Armani SpA after Giorgio Armani. Rumours have been circulating for years. But it’s a subject on which he remains determinedly vague and mysterious.
adapted from the FT
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