Open Armani archives

In an old attic On the southern edge of central Milan is a marvel of fashion history, Armani / Silos, a museum that contains the work of Giorgio Armani. Four decades of culture-changing fashion are hosted there, on display to the public. You can walk the halls and study the cuts, but what you can’t do is touch anything or try them on. No, unless you are Ghali, seen here in a selection of looks, chosen and styled by GQ, from the Armani archives, the star of Italian Tunisian traps who break down barriers. The collision of Italy’s illustrious past with its burning future highlights the designer’s unique ability to resist time and trends.

Standing in a cool, hushed raw concrete gallery in Milan, I’m about six inches from what I consider to be the most important piece of men’s clothing in the world. It’s a suit jacket, worn by a headless mannequin. Unlike the room across town which houses one of the city’s greatest works of art, Da Vinci’s The last supper, there are no security gates or taut guards here. In fact, it would be very easy for me to lean a little closer and do what I usually do when checking clothes: reach out and touch. It would be a sacrilege, however.

All clothing, shoes and accessories from Emporio Armani Archive, fall-winter 2012 collection.

The jacket in question, handpicked by Richard Gere on a scouting trip to Armani’s studio in Milan, is one of the oldest pieces on display here, dating from a time when Armani was still around. a newcomer, a medical student turned window dresser. became a fashion designer who came out, in his forties, from a life of obscure normality to an extraordinary life of celebrity.


Of course, it was this pale gray and cream jacket that sparked the big bang moment when Gere was chosen to wear it in her role as Julian Kay in American gigolo. It was this jacket that pretty much changed the silhouette of menswear forever and transformed Mr. Armani’s fortune. Suddenly, men’s fashion, especially tailoring, got easier, more attractive and comfortable and, for the first time, cool. Just a few years before this jacket, Armani had sold his beloved Ladybug to fund his fashion start-up. He was just starting to make waves in the US, with an exclusive Barneys account, but he was by no means a big deal. Less than two years after the film’s release, Armani was on the cover of Time magazine (and he has since amassed a personal net worth of around $ 7.8 billion).

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