MILAN — Giorgio Armani unveiled his largest Casa store on Wednesday, during Milan’s international furniture and design exhibition, the Salone del Mobile.
Located in central Via Sant’Andrea, in the golden shopping area centered on Via Montenapoleone, the three-story, 17,280-square-foot store previously housed the designer’s first signature brand boutique that opened in the Eighties. The new space also marks the 10th anniversary of Armani’s home division.
“This store was a necessary step as it allows us to display our newest items,” said Armani, looking tanned and fit.
Lodged in a mid-1900s building with a Saint Maximin stone facade, the store is outnumbered in terms of windows by the existing Casa banner in Via Pisoni, next to his Emporio megastore in Via Manzoni, which will continue to stand given its visibility. Armani’s new bathroom concept, a modular system with vanishing edge pools, minimal taps and foldaway fittings created in collaboration with the Spanish group Roca SA, was presented in the Via Pisoni store this week.
“The body must stand out [in a bathroom], the rest is extra,” noted Armani, who, summing up his design aesthetics, said: “I don’t want to invent anything, I just want to do something that makes sense, that will last and is of good quality.” Furniture must be functional, he added. “I see some spectacular pieces around, which can’t be used,” he said.
While the Casa line bowed 10 years ago, Armani was outspoken about its genesis, conceding he has pinned down his real desires for this division in the past five years. Equally candidly, the designer said he enjoyed the Salone mood and referred to “people in the design industry,” as belonging to “a more poetic world” and“a younger crowd, less arrogant and pretentious,” compared to the fashion scene.
While the economy dampened 2009 revenues at the Casa division, which the previous year reached $54 million, the first months of 2010 showed 12 percent growth compared with the same period last year. In 2010, the company plans to open stores in São Paulo, Brazil; Shenzhen andGuangzhou, China, and Amman, Jordan. There are 29 Casa stores and 38 shop-in-shops in 45 countries around the world. Europe accounts for 45 percent of the brand’s sales, Asia for 26 percent, the Middle East for 23 percent and the U.S. for 6 percent.
Armani’s interior design service, which was launched in 2003, now contributes more than 30 percent of Casa sales, which have recently included residential projects in Istanbul and Milan, and the ongoing Cavour 220 development in Rome. The designer said around 35 percent of his time is dedicated to the Casa line.
The first floor of the new Milan store is dedicated to the interior design service provided by the designer’s architects to private customers and property developers. Main elements in the store include two staircases in brown Eramosa stone; bronze polycarbonate panels edged in polished black metal trim, which separate the different areas; silver tatami floors and polished black lacquered tubular supports with Plexiglas shelving for accessories.
Armani’s first hotel, furnished with his Casa line, will be unveiled in Dubai on April 21. The designer’s hotel in Milan will follow, scheduled to open at the end of 2011.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast