Giorgio Armani born 11 July 1934) is an Italian fashion designer. He is known today for his clean, tailored lines. He formed his company, Armani, in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful designer of Italian origin, with an annual turnover of $1.6 billion and a personal fortune of $8.1 billion as of 2017. He is credited with pioneering red-carpet fashion.
Armani was born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza, where he was raised with his older brother Sergio and younger sister Rosanna by his mother Maria Raimondi and father Ugo Armani (an accountant for a transport company). While at secondary school at the Liceo Scientifico Respighi in Piacenza, Armani aspired to a career in medicine, particularly after reading A. J. Cronin‘s The Citadel. He enrolled in the Department of Medicine at the University of Milan, but after three years, in 1953, he left and joined the army. Due to his medical background, he was assigned to the Military Hospital in Verona, where he would attend shows at the Arena. He eventually decided to look for a different career path.
After his stint in the armed forces, Armani found a job as a window dresser at La Rinascente, a department store in Milan in 1957. He went on to become a seller for the menswear department, in which capacity he gained valuable experience in the marketing aspect of the fashion industry. In the mid-1960s, Armani moved to the Nino Cerruti company, where he designed menswear. His skills were in demand, and for the next decade, while continuing to work for Cerutti, Armani also freelanced, contributing designs to as many as ten manufacturers at a time. In the late 1960s, Armani met Sergio Galeotti, an architectural draftsman, which marked the beginning of a personal and professional relationship that lasted for many years. In 1973, Galeotti persuaded him to open a design office in Milan, at 37 Corso Venezia. This led to a period of extensive collaboration, during which Armani worked as a freelance designer for a number of fashion houses, including Allegri, Bagutta, Hilton, Sicons, Gibò, Montedoro, and Tendresse. The international press was quick to acknowledge Armani’s importance following the runway shows at the Sala Bianca in the Pitti Palace in Florence. The experience provided Armani with an opportunity to develop his own style in new ways. He was now ready to devote his energy to his own label, and on July 24, 1975 he founded Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in Milan, with his friend Galeotti. In October of that same year, he presented his first collection of men’s ready-to-wear for Spring and Summer 1976 under his own name. He also produced a women’s line for the same season.