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MILAN — Giorgio Armani is going the star-studded route in his advertising campaigns for spring-summer 2003.

Kristin Scott Thomas, of “The English Patient” fame, and French actor Olivier Martinez, who starred in the steamy film “Unfaithful,” will be featured in the Giorgio Armani campaign, while model-turned-actress Milla Jovovich will be the face of Emporio Armani. This is the first time Armani has relied on actors for an ad campaign.

This story first appeared in the December 10, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We wanted the ads to have a special impact,” said Robert Triefus, executive vice president for worldwide communications at Armani. The company will also boost its visibility with an ad budget up 20 percent. At the same time, after a protracted absence from American Vogue, Triefus said the designer will go back to advertising in that publication.

“The increase in our ad budget shows the group’s commitment to supporting the brand in total, making sure each individual lifestyle has a significant budget clearly positioned and negotiating for each brand,” said Triefus in an interview at Armani’s Milan headquarters. According to Triefus, Armani spends more than $100 million per year in communication across all its divisions.

Armani, which had sales of $634.1 million in the first half of 2002, will increase its investments in all primary markets, such as the U.S., where wholesale revenues account for 34 percent of sales, and Italy and Japan, which account for 17 and 7 percent of sales, respectively. Armani also plans to expand its visibility in other European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.

The designer is banking on a four-page portfolio for his signature line. Scott Thomas, shot in black and white by Paolo Roversi, is captured donning Armani jackets or striking a more glamorous pose in the designer’s eveningwear. The photos were shot in a Milan studio. In typical Roversi-style, the sepia-toned images are slightly misty. Another set of photos feature professional models, who will not appear together with either Scott Thomas or Martinez.

Triefus said Armani was particularly happy with the Emporio photos of Milla Jovovich shot by Peter Lindbergh on the island of Pantelleria. Jovovich, whose film career includes “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” and “The Fifth Element,” in some photos is paired with model Bruno Santos. The photos were shot in black and white and color.

“She bounces off the pages — there is a real sense of a personality, effervescent and charismatic,” he said. “Jovovich embodies the sense of fun Mr. Armani wants Emporio to represent.” Triefus said the partnership with Jovovich will be extended to “at least” next season, but said this is a “long-term relationship. Mr. Armani loves her personality.” In previous campaigns, the Emporio Armani lifestyle was portrayed by a group of models. Triefus said Jovovich is strategic to the line’s expansion. “We want to have a much higher visibility with Emporio. This is a young and sophisticated fashion line. Jovovich is not a teenager, but is sophisticated while not inaccessible.”

The company is planning six to eight units in Elle, Marie Claire, the New York Times, British Vogue and U.S. Vogue. “In Vogue, there will be an emphasis on Emporio Armani,” Triefus said.

There will also be a TV commercial to be shown on MTV for Armani Jeans. The print campaign, shot by Ruedi Hofmann, was photographed in Sardinia. “It has a sexy, upbeat edge, although never aggressive,” Triefus said.

Although Triefus did not comment on rumors that Armani is in talks with Safilo or De Rigo to produce the company’s eyewear line — as a consequence of the termination of the existing license with Luxottica, which expires in April — he conceded that there will be a dual ad campaign next year. “The first will bow in January and will support the final Luxottica campaign, the second will appear in May.”

Triefus said the company is investing in ad campaigns for new product lines, such as Emporio Jewelry, launched this summer, and Armani Casa. The Casa ads reflect the opening of Armani’s new Casa stores in Milan and Marbella, Spain, this fall, which are in addition to the other five stores around the world.

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