The trailblazer

Giorgio Armani is the pioneer of brand diversification

While Bernard Arnault is just opening his own proper hotel Cheval Blanc in Paris and setting the course for his company to be more lifestyle and less fashion centric, Giorgio Armani came to Dubai to host one of his “One Night Only” fashion cum concert events conveniently celebrating the tenth anniversary of his major hotel venture here. Yes, the designer who deconstructed the suit in the 80’s and who has a major momentum in men’s wear with hot Munich based Mytheresa buying his collections for the first time, Armani has been in the brand diversification game all along.

“One Night Only”

So let’s think of a few firsts: He brought Nobu to Milan, he opened a flower shop, and a chocolate and sweets one, he was the first to dress football players and has again done so successively with the Italian football team which won the Euro under Roberto Mancini in 2021, he is the benchmark for beauty licenses as his billion dollar business with L’Oréal is testament of and he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his Emporio Armani line a feat none of his competitors managed when they quietly buried or folded their second line into the main. He even owns a night club with Armani Privé which is still open and attracting the cool kids in Milan.

Mr. Armani signing Roberto Mancini’s jacket.

Emporio Armani gang

Armani understood very early on that a wealthy clientele seeks an experience as much as a destination. So he set the bar very high when he teamed up with Emaar, Dubai’s most prominent real estate developer whose logo appears all over the city’s skyscrapers, in 2010 to open an Armani hotel in the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the highest building in the world and hosts the biggest shopping mall as well. I remember very well the futuristic architectural model Armani presented in his Tadao Ando theater before one of his shows, always keen to inform the press on his latest endeavors. So destination check. And leave it to the stickler for every last detail Giorgio Armani to make the experience one of a kind as well. The hotel lobby is scented in his typical somber and strong amber scents, the surfaces shine elegantly and the staff greets you with a friendly Bonasera.

Armani model in front of the Burj Khalifa.

For last night’s event, Armani brought along the Giorgio Armani Men’s and Women’s Spring/Summer 2022 collections and a selection of Armani Privé Haute Couture looks from the Fall/Winter 2021/22 Shine collection which he showed in Paris on July 6th in the Italian embassy. Needless to say, the front row was deserving of the moment with the biggest living female film star in attendance, Sharon Stone who wore a dress with Armani’s headshot and walked the premises with her mobile phone reporting live for Vogue. Or so she said. It was a sight to behold. Next to her sat Clive Owen, an Armani regular and the spectacular setting of a palmed runway directly under the Burj Khalifa scraper was spectacular. Armani walked the entire runway followed by his gang of short haired models who all flocked to the stage at the end of the runway where none other than Coldplay’s Chris Martin performed a set of acoustic highlights ranging from Prince to his own hit “Yellow”, dedicating the show to Armani’s niece Roberta. The fact that Armani’s head of communications Anoushka Borghesi announced Martin and gently made the crowd flow from one end to the next of the space was testament to the well-oiled machine that is the house of Giorgio Armani. If Alitalia wasn’t such a disaster, only Giorgio Armani could revive the airline as his next project.