Giorgio Armani

SAY WHEN, NOT WHERE: “I hear that the same location bores people,” Giorgio Armani said ahead of his namesake brand’s show on Monday. “There are shows held in places from Taormina to China, all over the world, but then do people look at the clothes? You see them in any case. Why throw all that money away? It’s you that want this,” said the designer, pointing a finger to the journalists assembled at his Via Borgonuovo 11 headquarters in Milan. “I don’t agree with this trend. I want to see the clothes, not where they are being shown — that is a spectacle. Now it’s not about what to design but where to show those designs. I find it ridiculous — not to speak of the travel costs.”

Ever practical, Armani, who is also chairman of the company that bears his name, underscored the irony of having to come up with a different location despite the existence of his theater designed by Tadao Ando in Via Bergognone. “I spent a billion euros on my Theater but then I have to show here,” he said with a small laugh, nodding to his staff, who most likely whispered in his ear the need for change. To be sure, the designer has been experimenting with different formats and locations, holding a coed Emporio Armani show at Linate airport last September, for example, and a coed Giorgio Armani show in February at the Silos exhibition space. This season, he changed the set-up and the seating at the theater for the Emporio show, with a special lighting structure installed above the runway. 

“Well, at least people will see the palazzo that I own. Sometimes it’s OK to show who you are,” Armani said smiling. This is the first time the designer shows in the beautiful 17th-century Palazzo Orsini, which encloses a beautiful courtyard and overlooks a hidden garden. Armani took the time to give a brief tour of the garden, from which visitors saw the seamstresses busily working in the couture atelier, and noted that over three days more than 1,000 potted plants and plants ranging from ivy to camellias were added in the courtyard as a backdrop to the show. The designer owns the palazzo and lives just down the road in another stately palazzo.