A Short History of Luxury: The meteoric rise of Giorgio Armani in 5 key dates

As we celebrate Giorgio Armani’s 87th birthday, let’s take a look back at the long career and many accomplishments of this Italian designer. Between ambition, consecration and recognition, Giorgio Armani has succeeded over time in building an internationally recognized fashion empire. Here is the history of the designer in 5 dates.


Born in the small town of Piacenza into a modest family of Armenian origin and surrounded by his brothers and sisters, nothing predestined him to make a career in fashion: he grew up with the vocation of going into medicine.


After two years of medical studies, which he abandoned to devote himself to photography, he became a window dresser in Milan, at the same time as his passion for fashion began to make itself felt.


1961: The year Armani entered the fashion world


So, 61 years ago, Giorgio Armani took his first steps into the select world of fashion. Having found a job as a stylist at Nino Cerruti, he learned the ropes from 1961 to 1970. It was then that he discovered his true vocation: fashion design.


Tired of not working under his own name, he launched a freelance design business in 1975 with Sergio Galeotti, his business and life partner, and founded his own company: Giorgio Armani SPA.


Sergio Galeotti et Giorgio Armani
Sergio Galeotti and Giorgio Armani. © Giorgio Armani


1980: The beginning of the rise


The year 1980, like the 1980s, marks the beginning of Armani’s international fame. Known for his uncanny ability to blur the lines between the business dress code and the casual wardrobe, Giorgio Armani no longer has to prove his stylistic talent. He made gray and denim his specialties.


In 1981, Armani launched three brands that were all very successful: Emporio Armani, Armani Jeans and Armani Junior.


This consecration will also go as far as the design of uniforms for the Italian Air Force as well as for many Hollywood actors. In particular, he designed the costumes for the actor Richard Gere in the film American Gigolo (1980) and for Sean Connery in The Untouchables (1987).


a state of bliss — Richard Gere wears Giorgio Armani in 'American...
Richard Gere dressed by Giorgio Armani in American Gigolo.


After Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani is the second designer to have made the cover of the American magazine Times in 1981, after having provided the role of stylist for Gere. It’s official: the name of Giorgio Armani is now on the lips of the whole world.


He took advantage of the success of his empire to launch his first perfume and beauty lines, which L’Eau Armani inaugurated in 1984. Soon after, the designer won the Geoffrey Beene Award in 1987, given by the Council of American Fashion Designers at their annual awards ceremony, which honors excellence in fashion.


2006: Diversification for Armani


During the 2000s, Giorgio Armani continued to grow in popularity around the world and the decade saw several major achievements for the Italian designer. With a lucrative international fashion company, he did not hesitate to invest his money in new and ambitious projects.


The man who declared: “Every time I undertake something, it’s a new doubt, a new question mark” in 2015 in an interview with Le Figaro, is not resigned to being satisfied with his fashion lines and the haute-couture one, founded in 2005.


In 2006, the designer teamed up with Emaar Properties, a Dubai-based real estate company, to launch the Armani Hotels chain. It now has two luxurious addresses: one in Milan, Italy and a second in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Armani Hotel Dubai, Dubaï – Tarifs 2022
© Armani Hotels


2008: The holy grail of decorations for Armani


Two years after the launch of his luxury hotel chain, Giorgio Armani was awarded the insignia of Officer of the Légion d’Honneur on July 3, 2008, by the French President at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the closing ceremony of Paris Fashion Week Haute-Couture.


Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani receives France's most prestigious award, becoming a member of the Legion D'Honneur from French Premier and Grand...
© Getty Images


2010: Lady Gaga, Armani’s icon of elegance


After confirming Armani’s place as a symbol of “Made in Italy” luxury, he went on to establish himself as the designer of choice for many celebrities. Like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Princess Charlene of Monaco, Lady Gaga has been dressed by Giorgio Armani, notably for her world tour since 2010, after their meeting at the Grammy Awards a few years earlier.


She had notably caused a sensation in January 2010 during her appearance at the Grammy Awards ceremony, in a sparkling dress with a space theme signed by the Italian designer.


© PA Photos


Since then, Giorgio Armani’s popularity has grown steadily, becoming a colossal fashion empire with over 500 stores worldwide and a capital estimated by Forbes at 7 billion dollars. This reputation has enabled him to end the year 2021 with a turnover of almost 3 billion euros and to become one of the wealthiest men in fashion in the world.


A success story that was not made in a day, but which is now the symbol of an unparalleled success and a journey as inspiring as impressive.





Featured photo : © Giorgio Armani

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.


Luxus Magazine recommends

Luxus Magazine N°8

Now available