Fewer parties could have made for a drab New York Fashion Week had Giorgio Armani not come to the rescue. Armani blew off the recession and opened his huge, expensive new Fifth Avenue flagship, a 43,000-square-foot emporium featuring several of Armani’s collections, an Armani Dolci bar and a restaurant serving modern Italian fare.

Created by architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, the store’s focal point is a staircase reminiscent of the dinosaur skeletons in the nearby American Museum of Natural History. The Milanese designer intended the megastore as a way to thank New York and the U.S. for embracing his aesthetic almost from the get-go, and his continued belief in the American market, even though all financial news spells doom and gloom these days.

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