UPBEAT ARMANI: Giorgio Armani isn’t letting the economy and Italy’s debt problems dampen his spirits. “I can’t be concerned all the time, otherwise I would just take the money and go on vacation,” said Armani after his signature men’s show on Tuesday, where celebrities in the front row included violinist Ray Chen and French actor Louis Garrel. On the contrary, the designer said he is “seriously” investing in expanding globally, in China in particular, leveraging on his company’s double-digit growth in 2011. “The year 2011 was more positive than we expected, and we are on the right track to continue so,” said the designer.

When asked about large French conglomerates taking control of Italian companies, such as Berluti, Bulgari and Brioni, Armani said: “It’s not over yet. They are very combative in their activity to gain possession of brands that are solid, that have years of history behind them and a chain of stores — not just any poor devil. [LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and ceo Bernard] Arnault and the others, they aren’t really talent scouts.” As to whether Arnault still knocks at his door, the designer responded in the negative, skirting the issue and implying that the French tycoon, who was allegedly eyeing the Italian group years ago, still hasn’t come to grips with Armani spurning him.

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