By  on February 25, 2013

MILAN — A pioneer in developing the eyewear category from a functional to fashionable accessory, Giorgio Armani on Saturday marked the launch of the signature and Emporio Armani eyewear collections for spring under a new licensing agreement with Luxottica Group with an event here. To illustrate the value of the collections, which are handcrafted in Italy, Armani set up work stations at his Tadao Ando-designed theater with Luxottica artisans working on different stages of production.

Speaking after his Emporio show Sunday, Armani emphasized his personal relationship with Luxottica founder and chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio. “We both regretted we hadn’t continued growing together,” Armani told WWD. A first licensing agreement between the two Italian entrepreneurs dates back to 1988. Luxottica then lost the license to Safilo SpA, whose initial Armani collections came out in 2003. In June of last year, Armani and Luxottica, which owns the Oakley and Ray-Ban labels and holds eyewear licenses for brands such as Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Tiffany and Versace, revealed they had inked a new 10-year licensing agreement for the production and worldwide distribution of eyewear collections under the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange brands to begin in January.

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