MILAN — Giorgio Armani is taking over the slopes.
The designer has forged a link with FISI, the Italian Winter Sports Federation, becoming the team’s official technical outfitter for four seasons via his sportswear leaning EA7 line under the Emporio Armani brand.
The tie-up was revealed Monday at the Armani/Teatro in Milan as part of a two-day event kicking off the upcoming season for the national federation with athletes in attendance already sporting leisure clothing from the EA7 collection.
The designer did not attend the event but in a statement he said: “The world of sport never ceases to inspire and excite me. It is animated by values in which I deeply believe: team spirit, hard work, respect and loyalty.
“This new collaboration…is another step in a direction that I undertook years ago and which has brought me much satisfaction and the opportunity to engage with great athletes. Winter sports are also a wonderful playground to experiment with style and performance while maintaining a renewed focus on the environment,” Armani added.
The partnership stretches until the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, to take place in Italy between Milan and ski destination Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto region.
“Over the past few years, Mr. Armani has been building a brand that started out as an exploration of sportswear to rapidly become an important player in the field,” Giuseppe Marsocci, deputy general manager and chief commercial officer of Giorgio Armani, said at Monday’s event.
“[EA7] represents an important connection between fashion and sport, the first important example of such tie-ins.…We embarked on this adventure with eagerness to learn something new along the journey that will take us through Milano Cortina 2026,” he added.
As reported, the Winter Olympics are expected to generate buzz, draw interest and help boost the Italian economy. They will mark the third time Italy will host the Winter Games after the 2006 edition in Turin and the 1956 edition in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Signaling their importance, the Ministry of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia revealed Monday during the event at the Armani/Teatro that the government is supporting the federation with 1 million euros a year and additional 3 million euros through 2026 to build momentum around winter sports and ski resort destinations in the country.
To be sure, Italian winter sports athletes are already a source of pride for the country, with the federation reporting a record-breaking 2021-22 season with 155 podium wins across winter disciplines and three breakthrough stars. They include Super-G ski racer Federica Brignone, alpine ski racer Sofia Goggia, who specializes in speed events such as downhill, and ski mountaineer Michele Boscacci.
Together with their fellow team members, the two female athletes looked excited for the 2022-23 season ahead, which is fast approaching. FISI president Flavio Roda touted their excellent achievements and resilience during the two pandemic-scuppered years.
In a few weeks as winter sports tournaments begin, the Italian athletes will sport EA7’s performance-driven gear, including ski suits, overalls, jackets and puffers; mid-layers; leisurewear such as track pants and tops, vests, shorts and T-shirts, as well as a range of accessories and sneakers.
Designed in two colorways, burgundy and gray, clothing spells out “Ita” on the back flanked by three brushstrokes in the same colors as the country’s flag — white, red and green. The EA7 team employed cutting-edge technology for padding, such as Ardor7, a recycled textile blending microfibers with recycled polyester and Stratum7, also a recycled stuffing crafted from microfibers. Both are GRS-certified.
Although it marks the first time Armani is providing the team with technical outfits — previously supplied by the Robe di Kappa brand — the tie-up is more of an expansion of the deaigner’s link with winter sports.
Through his EA7 Emporio Armani line, introduced in 2004, he was already the official outfitter of the Italian Olympic team, who wore the designer’s EA7 Emporio Armani kit during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing earlier this year.
His support of Italian sports teams dates back to 2012 for the London Olympic Games, followed by the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, in 2016 for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and in 2020 for the Olympics in Tokyo. The designer has also already linked with winter sports via a partnership with Italian and Swiss ski schools.