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Among his peers, Giorgio Armani is lauded for inventing Italian sportswear, bringing his country’s sophisticated taste levels to U.S. shores and changing the way Hollywood feels about fashion. Here are some observations on Armani from the fashion world.
“Giorgio Armani has been an idol and a mentor to me. He was definitely a designer who made fashion a desire for both men and women. He made men and women feel secure in the world of fashion. He made them feel like they were walking down the runway every day with comfort and style. He took fashion to a height. He embraces artistry and functionality, which is a true gift, and understands what it takes to make clothes. The key is the cut and the fabric, and he understands the importance of this and doesn’t take it lightly.” — Donna Karan
“Mr. Armani changed the face of fashion and the way people dressed. What I have admired most about him is that he turned his iconic style, as well as his refined product, into a business that also broke new ground and never veered from his vision. I think that to do both is something few true designers have done today.” — Narciso Rodriguez
“Armani gave active, modern women a uniform for busy lives. He cleaned up Hollywood and softened men’s tailoring, all in a chic uncontrived manner. His consistency has brought him an incredibly loyal fan base of regular people and celebrities, and in a business of roller-coaster highs and lows, he has stayed his course, which is very admirable. Buying my first Armani jacket while a student at FIT, I was so thrilled with my purchase that I folded it over my arm inside out so the label was on full display as I strolled Madison Avenue.” — Michael Kors
“He completely shaped fashion. His is a true sense of modernity and modern-day glamour that is casual and elegant. When he was being honored at the Fashion Group International Night of the Stars dinner last year, there were all these women wearing his dresses and they were impeccable. He makes truly modern pieces of glamour that are not referential. It’s global glamour. And for his exhibit, he picked Robert Wilson. Anyone who picks Robert Wilson for anything is a genius.” — Zac Posen
This story first appeared in the January 31, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“In a sense, Armani is the European version of Ralph Lauren. He has translated a certain lifestyle into fashion and created a huge business out of it. He really became important in the Eighties when Europeans discovered career clothing. To me, his contribution is that he translated men’s suits for women, and then he made a whole lifestyle from it.” — Diane von Furstenberg
“What Saint Laurent did for tailored clothes and the modern woman, Mr. Armani did for deconstructed clothes and a modern way of life. Nothing today could have come without him and his vision of a soft, fluid, sophisticated kind of dressing.” — Vera Wang
“Armani has done something wonderful for fashion with his relaxed sportswear mixed with details of couture and the glamour of the silver screen. I began wearing Armani in the Seventies and I am a great admirer. I think Armani was the first to do masculine suits with very feminine details, so he really was the one who invented the power suit. He was also the first one to start dressing movie stars. Before, they would dress more costume-y, but he did it in a glamourous way with much reality, not fantasy.” — Carolina Herrera
“Giorgio Armani is one of the few designers who has changed the way women dress. I admired him when I worked for him and still do today.” — Patrick Robinson, creative director, Paco Rabanne
“Giorgio Armani is the master of tailoring. No one cuts a jacket like Armani. In the Eighties, owning a Giorgio Armani was the ultimate status symbol.
“It wasn’t until the world saw Richard Gere in American Gigolo that anyone realized a suit could be so sexy. Armani made Old World tailoring and craftsmanship sexy. Armani made not only silhouette but color a signature…you can just look at a fabric or color alone and know it is an Armani.
“So far, I’ve only shared one thing with Giorgio Armani. A few years back, I somehow ended up in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful alongside Armani in the designer category — he was the guy, I was the girl.” — Cynthia Steffe
“I have a great respect for Giorgio — he has maintained a clear point of view, which is hard to do. I think the purity of his designs and the consistency of his vision have had a tremendous influence on Italian fashion.” — Ralph Lauren