By  on May 31, 2012

On his first official appearance in China on Wednesday, Giorgio Armani met with the students of the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing. During a seminar hosted by Vogue China’s editor in chief Angelica Cheung, Armani responded to questions and awarded two students with a six-month apprenticeship at the group’s Milan headquarters. Here, a few of the designer’s thoughts from the almost 90-minute seminar.

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ON BEING A DESIGNER

“The first thing I felt, seeing you sitting here eager and starry-eyed, was a strange sensation of jealousy because I wish I could be in your place. You still have your story to write. I have lived moments of great enthusiasm and uncertainty, disappointment, but also dazzling joy.”

“This job takes your heart. If money comes, it’s good, but if it doesn’t,no matter.”

“When I’m asked whether I feel too old to create fashion for young people, I am a little perplexed, but then when I walk through cities from Milan to Paris or New York, and young people greet me and want to have their photo taken with me, and I still feel part of the game. And for who knows how much longer.”

“It’s the inside beauty that makes me spring to action, that wants me to help improve the exterior.”

“In the Nineties, I offered women’s suits with shorts. At the time, it was avant-garde and not very Armani, but then I found them again in time, presented by other designers. I, too, have dared, but then I clashed with a different reality and my customers did not find in the stores what they wanted.”


ON BUILDING HIS BUSINESS

[Responding to a question about building his business after his partner Sergio Galeotti died] “It was a very difficult moment, but not having a business education helped me talk to lawyers and partners, the relation was natural and almost naïve and it was often extremely productive and winning.”

“If you want to become a designer to make money, you have to work for a big group. Otherwise, it takes too many years to be successful. You clash against huge organizations that already have the media talking about the designers before these groups even find them.”

“There are schools that provide information to proceed [in a fashion career], but then you must have that special genius or it’s useless — better to become a dentist.”

“This is what a designer must do, start with big wings and then reduce them and stay more with his feet on the ground. I dream, too, but then I think in practical terms. If you see my sketches, 80 percent of time I eliminate — I don’t add.”

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ON THE MEDIA

“Magazines often mislead you. They must sell and have their needs, they must offer strong images, but look at Angelica [Cheung] and what she’s wearing today: a little black dress. This is a lesson in itself."

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