Born on July 11, 1934, in Piacenza,
Italy, Giorgio Armani is an iconic clothing designer.
His popularity skyrocketed in America in the 1980s when his
men's 'power suits' appeared frequently on the television
series Miami Vice and in the 1980 film American Gigolo,
which starred Richard Gere in Armani's signature garb.
After completing his military
service, Armani dropped out of university and went to work
at La Rinascente, a famous Milan department store. He then
joined the staff of Nino Cerruti as a designer. With the
encouragement of his friend Sergio Galeotti, Armani started
to do freelance design work for other companies as well.
Armani and Galeotti became business
partners, founding Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in July 1975. The
company's first collection, a men's clothing line, debuted
that year. Armani launched a women's collection the
following year, which received a warm reception.
While his designs were popular in
Europe, Armani didn't make a big splash in America until
1980. His clothes were worn by actor Richard Gere in the
film American Gigolo (1980), which helped generate a lot of
interest in Armani.
In the 1980's and beyond, wearing
Armani became a symbol of success for many business
professionals. Men had especially sought out the brand's
"power suits." With demand high, Armani and Galeotti were
able to grow the business, opening up Armani stores in
Milan. Armani, however, suffered a great personal and
professional loss in 1985 when he lost longtime friend and
business partner Galeotti to AIDS. While some thought that
the business might suffer after Galeotti's death, Armani
showed the world that he was just as talented as an
executive as he was as a designer.
In 2005, Armani debuted his first
haute couture line.