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CANNES — Giorgio Armani made a grand entrance at the film festival on Thursday, cruising into the city aboard his one-year-old, 163-foot yacht, Mariù, named after his mother. Within a few hours of docking, the designer exchanged his nautical stripes for a tuxedo and headed to the annual AmFar benefit, which he co-hosted. But his visit wasn’t strictly social. He designed the costumes for the highly anticipated closing film “De-Lovely,” the Cole Porter biopic starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. In honor of the cast, he threw a sunset cocktail party on Friday aboard Mariù. Between his engagements, he spoke with WWD about life aboard his 30-foot wide floating sanctuary, which boasts four floors, 12 crew members, six staterooms, a screening room, and an outdoor Jacuzzi.?

— Marcy Medina

This story first appeared in the May 24, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

WWD: You’ve always loved the sea, so why did you wait until now to buy a yacht?

Giorgio Armani: I never really had the time to think about it seriously. For years I rented big boats, including Mike Ovitz’s. In each one, there was always something that was not quite right. They were too much, too over the top. Finally, the day came when I said, ‘OK, I’m going to buy my own.’ I had experimented enough.

WWD: Did you design Mariù from scratch?

GA: I bought the shell of the boat, so I didn’t have anything to do with the outside. I just enclosed the back deck for privacy, and I made the windows and portholes rectangular instead of round. The idea was to make a big sailing boat and luxe it up. The interior design was dictated largely by what I had done for Armani Casa. If you want to be trite, it was my way of showing what I know how to do.

WWD: What are the most important design elements?

GA: I didn’t want to see any difference between the outside and the inside of the boat, so I used teak on the outside as well as the inside. I also designed an interior staircase. On most boats, you have to go outside and around to get upstairs.

WWD: What is your favorite part?

GA: The best part of the boat is where everybody is. At the end of the day we always meet in the main (second) floor living room. I also love my cabin. When I come here, I want to enjoy the boat, the sea, and the company of people. I also like to watch films in the afternoon.

WWD: It looks as though owning a yacht inspired your current collection with all its nautical details.

GA: It was a coincidence, but probably subconsciously it did. It was as if I was waiting to christen the boat with that collection.

WWD: What should one wear on this boat?

GA: Something casual, easy. I’ve never done glamorous evening dress on my boat. It doesn’t make sense, you know? I like to wear a navy T-shirt and shorts, or navy pants with some stretch. The crew wears the gray T-shirts, shorts and sunglasses I designed for them.

WWD: What will your guests never find onboard Mariù?

GA: Flowers and checkers.

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