“I was born on 11 July 1934 in Piacenza, a city over two thousand years old, on the banks of the river Po.” The writer is not just any author, but Giorgio Armani. These are the opening words of the biography Per Amore, hot off the press and published by Rizzoli, with which the famous designer – still today at the helm of Armani, which has never succumbed to the flattery of the large foreign luxury groups and is a proud flag bearer of Italian style and manufacturing – talks about his life through the medium of writing. Back in 2015, to mark the 40th anniversary of his brand, Armani produced a book that told the story of his life in images. It was an instant success.
“The events of the pandemic,” writes the designer in the introduction to his new book, “have been warning, a wake-up call. No one could escape. I thought a lot and acted promptly, finding myself close to people like never before. This closeness led me to rethink the book, to enrich it, making it a very personal document: one of commitment, dedication, vision. Fashion is the background, but what it really talks about is life.” Per Amore, “a title that is both soft and provocative, which surprisingly reflects me.”
Giorgio Armani recounts the events that concern his family, from early childhood with the memory of his brothers, the war, the Fascist regime and the bombings. Intimate memories, such as how his parents met “on the stage of the Filodrammatica di Piacenza” while they were performing A Doll’s House by Ibsen, or the death of his father: “I was twenty-five and I felt I never really knew him.”
The narration is autobiographical and he lingers, one by one, on the buzzwords that are a recurring theme in his way of being and thinking, living and working, convinced that such ideas can be useful to many, not just those who want to work in fashion. Words and expressions such as ‘Communicate’, ‘Revolutionize’, ‘Creating fashion’ ‘Imagining the body’ guide the reader in the discovery of the life of the designer. A life that has always been marked and held together by a consistent and rigorous way of interpreting reality that Armani has successfully conveyed in his distinguishing and contemporary style. There is no quarrel between aesthetics and ethics in the Armani style, where minimalism is the result of a perfect exercise in the abstraction of shapes.
The book’s 105 pages also feature a wide selection of private and personal photographs. There are color shots and lots of black and white shots taken from the family album, featuring Armani alongside iconic stars of movies and fashion: sitting on a ‘Sì’ moped embracing Claudia Cardinale in Pantelleria, or with Sophia Loren kissing his cheek; but also triumphal fashion show finales, hand-drawn sketches of garments and him on the cover of magazines, such as Time in 1982 and Forbes in 2001. The book also collects statements made over the years in which the designer talks about himself, his youth, the people close to him, his career, which began in a great era for Italian fashion and in a city of extraordinary energy, Milan.
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