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Edited by on July 6 2011 at 8:24 AM

Old people are really mean. Case in point: Giorgio Armani. First he bitch-slapped Prada‘s and Dolce & Gabbana‘s men’s shows, calling them ridiculous and blaming the press for not blowing up their spots for being clownish clothes that no man would wear (I totes would).

Giorgio Armani Is Fit to Be Typed

Then he kicked Miuccia Prada in the ladyparts by blasting her house’s recent IPO (initial public offering) stating that he didn’t need to go public since his company is a strong black woman –  independent and debt-free — while his clothes make men more handsome and elegant.

Enter noted old-man-beater and Tod’s chairman, Diego Della Valle. Valle, referring to Armani as a “sprightly old man,” said the designer’s attack didn’t “make any sense” and instead of playa-hatin’ he should just get in the game and go public himself:

“Rather than criticizing Prada’s strategies, Armani should do the same thing, invest in the territory, as I did in Rome, contributing to the restoration of the Colosseum. In a moment of crisis, it’s important to be part of a team, and it’s our duty to give a signal, not waste time in useless attacks.”

Round 3: Armani takes it to the streets. Armani wrote a letter to Corriere della Sera, Italy’s top newspaper, explaining that he would never compromise his creativity and his freedom by going public:

“I don’t need alliances, complicity, or need to surround myself with international jetsetters. I have too much respect for myself, for the public, and for the people that work both with me and the fashion industry to renounce any sort of intellectual honesty that influences and orients my life, even at the expense of attractive economic opportunities….I don’t need any of the money from the stock exchange — not for growth, not for globalization, not to aggregate my brand.”

The gauntlet has been thrown, or rather, limply tossed out since Giorgio Armani is literally 1000 years old. On the one hand, it’s understandable where he’s coming from. Once you have someone else to answer to besides yourself, there’s a definite loss of freedom. But on the other hand, Armani’s reaction seems more like a defense against the idea of change.

He’s been doing this fashion shtick for 900 years (he got started later in life); he’s used to dressing men a certain way, used to running his business a certain way but fashion never gets used to anything. Prada, which initially resisted an IPO, went public as a strategic business move that will allow for further expansion of the brand worldwide. Whether this will dilute or drastically alter the aesthetic vision, however, is something we’ll just have to wait to see. [WWD]

Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at