The Armani Group is one of the leading fashion and luxury groups in the world today with around 5000 employees and 13 factories. It designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products including apparel, accessories, eyewear, watches, jewelry, home interiors, fragrances and cosmetics under a range of brand names: Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Mani, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani Casa. The Group’s exclusive retail network currently comprises: 57 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 12 Armani Collezioni stores, 121 Emporio Armani stores, 68 A/X Armani Exchange stores, 13 AJ | Armani Jeans stores, 6 Armani Junior stores, 1 Giorgio Armani Accessory store and 15 Armani Casa stores in 36 countries.
Giorgio Armani. was founded in Milan on July 24th, 1975 by Sergio Galeotti and Giorgio Armani – the company’s current President, Chief Executive Officer and sole shareholder – and later that year, the first Giorgio Armani Borgonuovo 21 ready to wear collection (S/S 1976) was presented.
After an extremely successful first year of operations, Giorgio Armani began to broaden its portfolio of clients and expanded its European presence. 1978 marked an important turning point in the company history when it
established a licensing agreement with GFT (Gruppo Finanziario Tessile), giving Giorgio Armani the opportunity to invest in a new headquarters that included showrooms and press offices.
In 1979 the business started its overseas expansion by establishing the Giorgio Armani Corporation in the United States. By the end of the 70’s Giorgio Armani had emerged as one of the leading international fashion house and had launched several new lines: Le Collezioni, Mani, Armani Junior, Giorgio Armani accessories, underwear and swimwear.
In the early 80’s Giorgio Armani established an important license agreement with L’Oreal (formerly H.Rubinstein) for fragrances and also launched the Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans lines. In the same period he opened the first Emporio Armani store (Milan) followed the next year with the opening of the first Giorgio Armani boutique (Milan). The company also began to strengthen its commercial and marketing divisions, while building the values of its brands and the philosophy of management, which continue to be an important focus today.
In the second half of the 80’s, Giorgio Armani continued the overseas expansion by opening Giorgio Armani Japan through a joint venture with Japanese Itochu Corporation and the Seibu Department Store in 1987, followed by a licensing agreement for eyewear with Luxottica Group Spa in 1988.
As part of its strategy to maintain control over product quality and distribution, Giorgio Armani initiated a series of share investments, which today include Intai Spa (100%), Antinea Srl (100%) and the manufacturing company Simint Spa (100%), which complete acquisition was finalized in 2001.
In 1999, a new Accessories Division was created, and the first e-commerce presence initiated with armaniexchange.com in the United States.
In 2000, Giorgio Armani’s 25th anniversary year, the company acquired the production facilities of Armani Collezioni men’s line and of sales and distribution of the Armani Collezioni and Mani labels in the United States. The company also launched its global web site, established a joint venture with Zegna Group (51% Armani, 49% Zegna) for the production and distribution of the Armani Collezioni men’s line, launched Giorgio Armani Cosmetics, Armani Casa and opened the worldwide flagship store Armani/Via Manzoni 31.
In 2001, to further enhance the Armani Group’s continuing strategy to take greater control over all aspects of manufacturing, distribution and retail throughout its various product lines and businesses and to further focus on the ‘Made in Italy’ value of its brands, a joint venture company with Vestimenta SpA, which has been one of the Armani licensees since 1979, was formed for the production and distribution of the men’s and women’s Giorgio Armani top line. The company also opened the first Giorgio Armani Accessori store (Milano) and a headquarter’s office including the new Armani/Teatro realized in collaboration with architect TADAO ANDO.
In 2002, the Group’s retail investment programme continued at a fast pace with 30 new store openings in strategically important cities worldwide, including the new multi-brand 3,000 square meter Armani / Chater House flagship store in Hong Kong signalling the launch of an important retail expansion programme for China, and 16 store renovations. On the manufacturing front, two important acquisitions were completed: Deanna for the production of high quality knitwear and I Guardi, which controlled four specialist shoe makers, to support the further growth of the Group’s shoe business. Product line expansion continued with the highly successful launches of two new prestige fragrances, Armani Mania for men and Sensi for women; the launch of Emporio Armani Jewellery; the expansion of the Armani Jeans line in Japan and the United States; and, the further growth of the Armani Casa brand around the world through the opening of seven new stand alone stores in Milan, Istanbul, Zurich, Hong Kong, Moscow, Marbella and Riyadh; the decision to award Safilo a new license for the manufacture and distribution of Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani Eyewear.