MILAN — The Olympic flame made its way through this city late Sunday and Giorgio Armani donned a tracksuit to help make it happen.
Hundreds of people cheered as Armani trotted down Via Montenapoleone holding the Olympic torch, which he then used to light the torch of AC Milan soccer star Andriy Shevchenko. The flame continued on to Piazza Duomo in the city's center, one of its last stops before reaching Turin. Many spectators waited as long as two hours amid the slushy remnants of a record-breaking blizzard two days earlier. Antiglobalization protestors helped stall the flame's journey on the outskirts of the city.
Initially, it looked like the Ukrainian-born Shevchenko was shaping up to be the main celebrity draw for the evening, eliciting cheers and fervent flag-waving as a Samsung-sponsored bus dropped him at his start position, at the intersection of Via Montenapoleone and Via Manzoni. "We're here for Shevchenko, let's be honest," admitted 20-year-old university student Gaia Bottura.
But when Armani arrived to ignite the athlete's torch, a mélange of spectators, including teenage boys sporting knit Armani caps, yelled out "Giorgio!" Antonella Bianco, who won a spot on the torch circuit through a Coca-Cola sweepstakes, transferred the flame to the designer near the intersection of Via Verri and Via Montenapoleone, near the famed Cova cafe.
Armani briskly walked the tony shopping strip, sprinting the last few meters to Shevchenko. "I wanted to run the entire way, but there were all of these photographers around and I wanted to look good in the pictures," the designer quipped.
Armani greeted Shevchenko with the customary cheek kisses and the two men posed for a photo op. A scrum of fans bearing camera-equipped cell phones and requesting autographs then engulfed the designer as he made his way toward the Nobu in his Via Manzoni megastore just a few feet away. "I touched him with my hand," one young male fan cried as he emerged from the cluster. Another woman in the fray, Francesca Cappelli, seemed just as starstruck. "I'm here for Armani because I like his style," she said.
At Nobu, Armani changed with superhero speed into his signature form-hugging black T-shirt and pants. "Every time I get involved in something that goes beyond my world of work, I question whether I'm doing a good thing or a bad thing or if I'm being an exhibitionist. I think a lot about it. I want to be known for my work as a designer. But there are certain offers that you just have to accept," said Armani, who added that he's still moved by the overt affection of his fans. "It's great to be someone who has given people something with my work, to feel that and to continue feeling it," he said.Clearly, the designer is continuing to feel the Olympic spirit. Word has it he'll appear on the Today Show's Milan broadcast Feb. 8 as part of the NBC program's tour through Italy leading up to the Turin games. Armani also plans to attend the Olympic opening ceremony Feb. 10, where he will dress 30 Italian athletes and a yet-to-be-named Italian celebrity.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
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@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)