There are many things in the fashion world that are easily debatable. However, one thing that everyone will agree on is the place that the legendary Giorgio Armani takes in the fashion world.
Reputed for his perfect cut and impeccable taste, it is no wonder why John Potvin, art history teacher at Concordia, chose him as his subject for his latest book Giorgio Armani: Empire of the senses.
For the occasion the sympathetic teacher/writer had accepted to answer some of our question about the book of course but also about the men behind the unstructured jacket.
If you could describe Giorgio Armani in one word, what would it be and why?
Focus. Armani has always charted hid own course, and has importantly remained true to his own vision. This has led to great resolve, integrity and success.
Among the various season from Giorgio Armani for both men and women, which one was your favorite?
I truly believe that the period between 1987 and 1990 were the height of Armani’s brilliance, especially for woman. The 1990s were especially wonderful for menswear. However, I will say that since around 2004, the collections have been especially strong, unique and special. There are truly so many, so in the end it is hard.
With 6 majors fashion lines and an « haute couture correspondent » status, why do you believe he still have not made the big move to the official haute couture status?
He has associate membership, which is all he can have at this point, if I am not mistaken. He fulfills all the technical and presentation requirements for the chambre syndicale de la haute couture, and that’s what matters.
In your book, a chapter is dedicated to his boutique culture, how would you describe it?
Luxurious and very refined.these boutiques boast an attention to detail,materials and the luxury of space.this is often perfectly suited to focus on the richness of the textiles rather than on fashion trends.
In 2011, Armani got some bad press after insulting his Italian competitor Dolce & Gabanna and Prada by saying things like: “Prada and Dolce & Gabbana make men look ridiculous” “Prada is ingenious for her irony and bad taste that becomes chic.” Do you believe this was a good marketing move?
I am not sure it is about marketing, especially at this point in his long career. I think Armani holds strong opinions and sees his role in Italian fashion as an important one.he haa high moral standards and when he sees things that does not move into the realm of beauty,he expresses his views.
What was your biggest challenge while writing the book?
Knowing when to stop. The story is multifaceted and ongoing.at some point you have to draw the line.
What can the readers expect when reading Giorgio Armani: Empire of the senses
I would like to think a holistic perspective, looking at various facets which have not really been touched before. Armani’s empire is so fascinating and diverse, and so the book attempted to touch upon a large part of this diversity and his various contributions, which we tend to, forget.
Giorgio Armani: Empire of the senses , Is a truly mesmerizing book filled with stunning pictures that will please not only the fashion fans but also anyone who might be interested in discovering the empire behind the man.
John Potvin, Concordia University, Canada
Exploring 35 years of creative output, this richly illustrated book offers an unprecedented look into Giorgio Armani’s unique aesthetic, corporate and cultural strategies. More than any other designer, Armani best represents the global success of the ‘Made in Italy’ label. His impact is palpable not simply in women’s fashion and red carpet glamour, but is also inseparable from the evolution of the menswear industry. Written in a lively and accessible style, the book includes thoughtful and provocative chapters exploring: the evolution of the man’s suit; boutique culture in a global reality; the influence of Orientalism; the designer’s ambivalent relationship with the fashion press; the business of vertical branding; the use of the evening dress to construct the house’s history; power dressing for the modern woman; the relationship between textiles, film and the contours of masculinity; the continued dialogue with early twentieth-century aesthetics; as well as the spaces and bodies of the theatre of fashion. The first holistic and critical investigation of one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, Giorgio Armani: Empire of the Senses is a must read for anyone interested in the history and theories of fashion.
Contents: Introduction: Made in Milan; Armani/mystique: building empire; Armani/America: haptic pleasures; Armani/industry: fashioning finance; Armani/menswear: tailoring masculinity; Armani/womenswear: hybrid modernity; Armani/space: boutique cultures; Armani/theatre: in the ‘church of Armani'; Select bibliography; Index.
About the Author: John Potvin is Associate Professor at Concordia University, Montreal. In addition to several essays and articles, he is the author of Material and Visual Cultures Beyond Male Bonding, 1880–1914 (2008). He is also the editor of The Places and Spaces of Fashion (2009) and co-editor of Material Cultures, 1740–1920: The Meanings and Pleasures of Collecting (2009) and Fashion, Interior Design and the Contours of Modern Identity (2010).