A tour of the photo exhibit “Emotions of the Athletic Body,” unveiled on Thursday at the Armani Silos, would make anyone run to the nearest gym. Olympic swimmer Filippo Magnini, captured by Aldo Fallai, or Serena Williams by Cliff Watts, stand out against the industrial background of the Armani space as demigods, every muscle popping out of the images.

“I’ve always been interested in sports and a well-shaped body becomes very attractive,” explained Giorgio Armani. “I’ve employed athletes for ad campaigns for years now,” said the designer, who owns Milan’s Olimpia basketball team.

The inauguration of the exhibit came on the heels of Rome’s withdrawing  the city’s 2024 Olympic bid, among controversial comments in the media. Asked to discuss this decision, Armani said “Rome is a wonderful city, but we can’t make decisions based on the emotions. As an entrepreneur, I want to dig deep into the figures.”

Olympic water polo champs Pietro Figlioli and Nicholas Presciutti were milling at the space wearing their EA7 Emporio Armani off-field uniforms, after their experience at the Rio Olympics. “When we were walking around the campus, we would get so much attention for our clothes, and everyone would ask us to hand them over,” said Figlioli with a laugh, referring to the uniforms designed by Armani for the August event in Brazil.

“Yes, I think they’re great,” said Novak Djokovic, in town for his charity tennis tournament Djokovic & Friends, referring to the images. “Sport, fashion, that’s what Armani is; he’s representing here with this exhibition his dedication to the sport, to the body, and it’s great to also see some of my friends and colleagues on the walls.”

Asked if he was comfortable in front of the camera and if he had done photos like these, he responded: “I am. I’ve done a few photos in my underwear, although I don’t prefer that but still I am [comfortable]. I think it’s nice to bring out this moment, you know, of an athlete, of his body. I think you can tell a lot by a photo, so…  I mean I feel comfortable today being here as an athlete, and as a sportsman it’s nice to combine this during fashion week; obviously Armani being one of the biggest brands in the world, supporting Olympic Italian team and supporting sports, it’s great.”