Armani’s signature ‘unstructured’ jackets for both men and women (a womenswear line was established in 1976), knocked the stuffing out of traditional tailoring and from the late ’70s, his clothes became a uniform for the upwardly mobile. Men loved his relaxed suits and muted colour palette of neutral beiges and greys. His designs for women, meanwhile, were admired for an androgynous and modern elegance. Richard Gere’s suits in American Gigolo’ (1980) were a landmark for the designer, as was the cover of Time magazine in 1983.
The brand now encompasses six major fashion lines and has diversified into bedlinen, chocolates and even hotels. Armani has won countless awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the RCA in 1991; from 2000 his designs have been exhibited in a major retrospective show that has travelled worldwide. Armani has also picked up a dedicated Hollywood following, and January 2005 saw the launch in Paris of ‘Giorgio Armani Prive’, an haute couture-like collection.