Giorgio Armani

The designer explained the reasons behind his decision to remain a non-member of Italy’s Chamber of Fashion.

MILAN — Giorgio Armani spoke his mind on Thursday — and the gloves may be off again.

This story first appeared in the May 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

As Italy’s fashion brands join forces to revamp Milan Fashion Week, and following Italy’s Chamber of Fashion invitation earlier this week for Armani and Dolce & Gabbana to consider joining the association, the designer explained the reasons behind his decision to remain a nonmember, “for now.” The main one relates to Italian brands that hold their shows outside of Milan.

Underscoring that a note addressed some time ago to the chamber’s president, Mario Boselli, had not been “transferred in any way” to the media, Armani felt that it was nonetheless necessary to clarify his position.

The designer started by explaining that for several years, in response to the chamber’s specific request, he’d scheduled the show for his main collection on a “strategic” day of the calendar — the last, so that the press would stay in Milan until the end of fashion week.

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“Naturally, this has over time created different problems, such as, for example, in some cases, the absence of some of the most important journalists from my shows,” noted Armani.

He acknowledged the chamber’s efforts to strengthen Milan’s role and “prestige that it always had in fashion.” Fashion, he said, that is “Italian creativity, and not the events and parties organized in Milan by some Italian brands that show abroad.” Such events, he said, are complementary but not essential.

Armani said the effort to revitalize Milan Fashion Week was “a good initiative” and that he shared the chamber’s goals. However, he said that in order for Milan to be “an important hub of international fashion,” it is necessary for “the most important names in the sector to maintain or [return]” to Milan as the only opportunity to present their lines.

“I realize that this would mean for some brands to review their company policies and to also accept some compromises, the same compromises or sacrifices that I have made so that the shows would last six days. In fact, I have always believed that it was important to avoid being conditioned or pressured from abroad in the organization of our calendar,” said Armani.

The designer added that he was “firmly convinced” it was “absolutely necessary” for relevant brands that are now showing outside of Italy to return to Milan in order to provide “a really important signal.” He stressed that has been a condition for him joining the chamber for years because it would be highly “symbolic of a new spirit” in the sector.

“If maisons such as Gucci and Fendi, now owned by French groups, maintain their shows in Milan, it is a contradiction” that as the Camera plans its relaunch, “not all Italian brands wouldn’t do the same,” said Armani.

The designer concluded by pledging his support for the chamber, its members and Italian fashion in general.

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