CHEERS AND JEERS FOR ARMANI: Italy’s Emilia Romagna region will honor Giorgio Armani for his entrepreneurship, research and development in textiles at an awards dinner on May 6. In a statement, the region, along with the Italian Hemp Consortium, said they chose Armani because of his innovative use of hemp in fabrics, specifically in his Armani Jeans line. For several years now, Armani has used the natural material in his collections. Hemp at one time flourished in Italy, but has since declined in production. But the Italian Hemp Consortium said it planned to rebuild Italy’s hemp industry by planting vast fields of the plant between the Italian cities of Ferrara and Bologna.
Meanwhile, Armani is also garnering some criticism in Milan. Graffiti artist Barry McGee, who recently showed his works at Fondazione Prada, told an Italian newspaper that the true graffiti in Milan were overblown fashion billboards — such as the mammoth Armani ad that literally takes up a wall in the heart of the city’s Brea section. McGee said that fashion houses in general spend millions of dollars on advertisements that do nothing more than “invade our public spaces.” Armani declined to comment.

SETTLED UP: Gilmar Divisione Industria SpA…and Victor Alfaro announced Wednesday that they had amicably resolved their legal controversies without any financial transaction. “Victor is greatly talented and…we look…forward to a future of many years of benefits for both of us, benefits derived from the promotion of fashion products labeled “Victor Alfaro,”‘ said Manlio Cocchini, Gilmar’s chief executive. Likewise, Alfaro said that working with Gilmar was “gratifying,” and that he was looking forward to growing his label. Things weren’t always so friendly, however. Last year,…Alfaro…sued Gilmar USA Inc. and Gilmar Divisione Industria SpA, his former backers,…for more than $33 million over alleged unauthorized use of his name and designs and other breaches of contract. The backers in turn sued him for defamation. Gilmar produces the Iceberg and Gerani lines.

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