- Designer Giorgio Armani is one of the richest men in fashion, worth an estimated $US6.24 billion, per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
- The 86-year-old Italian designer made his fortune not only in fashion, but also in accessories, perfumes, sportswear, interior design, real estate, restaurants, hotels, and even chocolate.
- Armani spends his billions on a 213-foot luxury yacht and homes all over the world, from Italy and the French Riviera to the Caribbean island of Antigua.
- In December, he added a $US17.5 million Manhattan penthouse to his collection.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Italian-born designer is the cofounder and sole owner of fashion house Armani, an empire that spans industries including accessories, perfume, makeup, interior design, real estate, restaurants, and hotels. The business mogul brought in $US2.3 billion in revenue in 2018, according to Bloomberg, which looked at filings with Italy’s business register.
Armani cruises the seas on his 213-foot yacht and owns a sprawling real-estate portfolio, with homes in Italy, the French Riviera, Antigua, and New York City.
Here’s a look at how the 86-year-old billionaire designer spends his billions.
Giorgio Armani is one of the richest people in the fashion industry, with a net worth of $US6.60 billion, according to Bloomberg.
He’s the cofounder and sole owner of fashion house Armani, an empire that spans industries including accessories, perfume, makeup, interior design, real estate, restaurants, and hotels – and brought in $US2.3 billion in revenue in 2018, according to Bloomberg.
Armani was born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza in 1934.
He later attended medical school at Piacenza University for two years before leaving for his military service.
While on leave from the military, Armani got a job as a window dresser at Milan department store La Rinoscente.
He worked up to a buyer position at the store, marking his first foray into fashion.
In 1965, Armani started working as a designer at fashion house Nino Cerruti, where he met Sergio Galeotti, who would later be his business partner.
In 1975, when Armani was in his 40s, he started Giorgio Armani SpA with Galeotti.
Galeotti handled the business aspects and Armani focused on the creative side.
“Your 40s are the moment when you start to become aware,” Armani told GQ in a 2015 interview.
“It’s just the beginning,” he continued. “I’ve always believed that to confirm your way of thinking takes time. It takes experimenting.”
The company expanded to the US in 1979 and gained global attention for designing Richard Gere’s clothing in his 1980 film “American Gigolo.”
Despite the death of his partner in 1985, Armani continued to expand the business in the 80s and 90s, introducing new brands like Emporio Armani.
More and more celebrities started becoming interested in his designs.
Armani is known for his androgynous approach to fashion.
“I was the first to soften the image of men, and harden the image of women,” Armani once said of his brand.
“I dressed men in women’s fabrics, and stole from men what women wanted and needed — the power suit,” he said.
He brought softened, minimalist style to high-end menswear, according to Forbes.
He’s also known for his haute couture evening gown designs for women, which have “made more than a few famous women feel like empresses on the red carpet,” according to Vogue.
When once asked to define “style,” Armani said, “Instinct is an essential component.”
“I’d start with the fact that, perhaps due to my family’s experience – we had very little, but my mother didn’t let us go without – I’ve always appreciated the ability to do more with less,” he told GQ. “I like everything that’s simple. That isn’t loud. That can be appreciated up close. My creative process is a continuous re-invention of this basic idea.”
He launched Armani Hotels & Resorts in 2005, which operates luxury hotels in Dubai and Milan, Italy.
In 2016, the Dubai location was named the most luxurious hotel in the world.
Armani Hotel Dubai is located in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Source: Guinness World Records
The Armani Hotel includes a spa, a nightclub, three restaurants, and Armani retail stores.
Source: Armani Hotel Dubai
The hotel also hosts swanky fashion events, including the gala for the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience in 2015.
The hotel’s nightclub, Armani/Privé, is a stylish hotspot that stays open until 3:00 a.m. and “embodies the essence of the Armani brand,” according to the website.
The Armani Hotel Milano opened in November 2011.
Models, actors, and other celebrities attended the opening party, including Isabelle Huppert, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jessica Alba.
Armani operates restaurants around the world, including Armani/Ristorante on New York City’s 5th Avenue.
Armani’s empire extends to cafés in Cannes, France, Doha, Qatar, and other locations.
Source: Armani Caffé Cannes
He also a luxury furnishings and interior design brand, Armani Casa.
Source: Armani Casa
Armani’s design skills extend to vehicles as well.
In 2003, he collaborated with Mercedes-Benz to design a sleek, limited-edition sports car: the Mercedes-Benz CLK. Only 100 of the cars were sold.
Armani travels all around the world for fashion shows and other events relating to his brands.
Armani sometimes travels via his private jet, on which George Clooney and David and Victoria Beckham reportedly once got a ride from LA to New York for the 2008 Met Gala.
He’s often seen in Milan for fashion week and other events.
Armani has hundreds of stores all over the world as of 2018, from Italy to the US to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, and Morocco.
Armani spends part of his nearly fortune on private residences around the world, from Italy to Saint Tropez, France, to the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Source: Condé Nast Traveller
One of Armani’s homes sits on the little-known Italian island of Pantelleria.
Source: Condé Nast Traveller
Armani’s Pantelleria estate, called Cala Gadir, includes seven houses with outdoor terraces, a pool, and a staff of 12 when he stays there.
He reportedly bought the property on the northeast coast in 1979, three years after his first visit to the island.
Armani’s jet-black 213-foot superyacht is called Main, built by Italian company Codecasa.
Each summer, Armani reportedly spends six weeks sailing his yacht with friends around the Mediterranean, from Saint Tropez, France, to islands including Ibiza, Formentera, and Sardinia. The last stop is Pantelleria.
Armani reportedly designed the interior of his yacht himself.
Source: Yacht Charter Fleet
Armani also has a home on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
The house perches on a cliff overlooking Galley Bay on the west coast of the island.
Armani certainly seems to enjoy sunny islands.
According to CNN, he’s a regular visitor to the Greek island of Patmos, which draws VIPs from all over the world because of its peacefulness.
But he’s also rumoured to have a home in snowy St. Moritz, a secretive ski resort in the Swiss Alps where celebrities, billionaires, and royalty go to ski.
In December, Armani purchased a 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom penthouse on Manhattan’s Central Park West for $US17.5 million.
He already owned the apartment next door.
The apartment has a “distinctive church-like look” and 1,700 square feet of terraces overlooking Central Park, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Another Italian locale where Armani spends much of his time is, of course, the country’s fashion capital of Milan.
“I arrived with my family from Piacenza in the aftermath of World War II,” Armani told Gourmet Traveller. “I studied here, made friends, started working. I built my life here … Today I feel completely Milanese. I love the city very dearly.”
In September 2018, Armani held his Milan fashion show in an airport hangar.
Source: The New York Times
Thanks to his legendary status in fashion, Armani often rubs shoulders with celebrities and the elites of Hollywood, the fashion world, and sports.
He walked the red carpet with actress Julia Roberts at the Met Gala in New York City in 2008.
Armani is frequently photographed with George Clooney …
… and he is reportedly close friends with film director Martin Scorsese.
Source: Vanity Fair
In honour of the 40th anniversary of Armani’s fashion house in 2015, Scorsese wrote a “love letter” to Armani in Vanity Fair, calling him “my old friend, whom I love and admire.”
Source: Vanity Fair
Armani has even mingled with world leaders.
Then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy presented the fashion designer with the Legion of Honour in 2008.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Armani converted its factories in Italy into production centres to make single-use medical overalls for healthcare workers amid supply shortages.
The fashion house also said in March that it had donated $US2.2 million to Italian hospitals to help them combat the virus.
Armani said in 2015 that he had no plans to retire.
He said he would continue to be the sole shareholder of his company while he is alive.
In 2016, however, Armani created a foundation in his name to safeguard his company’s future.
In 2017, he discussed what a successor to his empire might look like in an interview on Italian TV.
“I have several little heirs,” Armani said in the interview, referring to his two nieces, his nephew, and his longtime assistant Pantaleo Dell’Orco. “(These are) people who could do good things following up on my path.”
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