Fashionand/ as Culture in Italy
Thefashion industry and the essence of fashion have been an interestingconcept in Italy for quite a while now. In fact, the country hasmanaged to stage itself as a strategic fashion hub, particularlyafter World War II. After the 50s, Italy proved herself as theultimate manufacturer of the most fashionable clothing around theglobe. On that note, it is only fair to acknowledge the fact thatItaly hosts some of the most legendary fashion houses, starting offwith fashion designers like Giorgio Armani, Versace, Prada andValentino Garavani. This paper will seek to understand two giantfashion houses, namely Armani and Valentino. The study will look atdocumentaries as well as articles that revolve around these two keyplayers in the Italian fashion, and will further narrow down byoffering a comparison and a contrast of the fashion houses owned bythe two. The sole purpose of the comparison of the fashion houses isfor the understanding of what they entail, particularly in the bid toascertain the role of fashion and/as a culture in Italy.
Whencomparing Armani and Valentino, some similarities can be easilypicked out. First, it is essential to acknowledge that both Valentinoand Armani have been in the fashion industry for quite a while, overfour decades. Valentino is acclaimed as being the world’s ultimatedesigner, who has managed to thrive in the fashion industry for 45years (Amed, 2015b). Armani, on the other hand, was about tocelebrate his 40thanniversary at the time of the shooting of the documentary understudy (Amed, 2015a).
Secondly,thanks to being key players in the fashion design industry, bothfashion designers have seen major milestones in the business. Theyboth established successful fashion houses, which gross in millionsof Euros in a given fiscal year. Over the years of playing theircritical role in fashion, they have dressed the people that aredeemed to ‘matter,` The Valentino and Armani brands are lovedworldwide thus signifying how they have become the ultimate voiceamong the fashion elite (Turan, 2009).
Anothersimilarity between the Valentino and Armani fashion houses isaccredited to the life partners that both Giorgio Armani andValentino Garavani have had in their lives. Both fashion designersincorporated their personal lives into their work schedules, and theresult was an unprecedented success. In the case of Giorgio Armani,he was linked to his life partner (the late) Galeotti, with whom theyfounded the Armani brand (Amed, 2015b). Valentino Garavani’s lifepartner Giancarlo Giammetti doubled as a creative professional forthe Valentino brand (Gritten, 2010). The success that has been notedin both fashion houses is attributed to the partners of the visionbearers of the Armani and Valentino fashion houses given that theypropelled the vision of the brands to their present times.
Becauseof the attachment that Valentino and Armani have had in their brands,both fashion designers have sunk deep into their fashion passion tothe extent that the chances for retiring were a controversialsubject. Both Armani and Valentino value being in the fashionindustry, so much that they felt their impact was far from beingover. Armani and Valentino in their documentaries shunned thequestion of retiring anytime soon. Armani wanted to discuss more onthe question, ten years after the interview (Amed, 2015b). Valentinoon the other hand, when asked about his plans for retiring, mentionedthat the idea was not in his mind at the moment (Tyrnauer, 2008).
Lookingat the genesis of anything is of critical importance, especially inthe hunt to understand the strides that have been made, and comparingthe results with what the future holds. In a similar light,understanding the introduction of Valentino and Armani into thefashion world is critical, and it, in fact, points out a fundamentaldifference between the two fashion designers. Valentino dreamt aboutbeing in the fashion business throughout the time that he was young.He always had a soft spot for beautiful things throughout hischildhood. He was led by his childhood passion for beauty andfashion, into setting up his fashion design house. On the contrary,Giorgio Armani deems his entry into the fashion industry as being anaccident. Unlike Valentino who had decided on his future career fromhis childhood, Armani in his youthful days sought a different pathand he had even began studying being a doctor. Armani had a change ofmind when he realized that the concepts in medicine tended to besomewhat difficult. It was at the point that he was drawn to thefashion world, having no prior experience or education in the field.
Aspart of the genesis of the Valentino and Armani fashion brands,identification of the commodity that struck the attention of thegeneral public is of importance. On that note, it is imperative tounderstand that Armani drew the attention of the American public inthe 80s, thanks to the men power suits that were made in the fashionhouse. The suits became the ultimate accessory for the businessprofessionals since the 80s to the present times. Armani, later on,introduced his female clothing line, which was well received by thepublic. On the other hand, Valentino dealt in majorly female dressesthus the brand identifies more with the women (Turan, 2009). In fact,Valentino acknowledged the fact that he understood what women wantand he as a resulted wanted nothing less of beauty to what heprovided to them. The Italian men and women clothing lines, likeArmani and Valentino respectively, have been graced by both Hollywoodand the local filmmakers, who adorn the luxurious pieces on and offthe set.
Whenlooking at the views of the future of the fashion empires owned byValentino and Armani, it is apparent that both designers considertaking different steps. For instance, Armani was not of the opinionof selling his business to a leading business. Armani believed thatthe options for the future were somewhat limited in as far as themanagement of the fashion empire is concerned. Valentino, on theother hand, had been acquired by the Marzotto group, and theacquisition deal had just been completed by the time the documentarywas released. The time the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperorwas shot, Valentino had already exited the designing industry, andthe movie was, in fact, a tribute for his departure (Gritten,2010).Valentino Garavani mentioned that he felt it was the right time forhim to have left the industry.
In summary, it is apparent that Italian fashion designers of thelikes of Valentino and Armani are practical in their designing ofluxurious pieces that are worn by both men and women. Both Valentinoand Armani are aware of what the public want, which they strive toavidly provide and the fact that the companies have developed intoestablished brands tells it all. The author can deduce that theItalian culture has indeed shaped the world in as far as clothingstyle and elegance is concerned. The truthfulness of theaforementioned statement is given by the fact that fashion houseslike Valentino and Armani have taken the globe by storm, starting offwith the film industry. Well, the author can close by posing adebatable query as to what is next for the Italian influence inluxurious clothing on the global platform.
Amed,I. (2015a). BoF Exclusive | Inside Giorgio Armani`s Fashion Legacy.Retrieved January 15, 2017, fromhttps://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/bof-exclusive/bof-exclusive-inside-giorgio-armanis-fashion-legacy
Amed.I. (2015b). Inside Giorgio Armani`s Fashion Legacy | The Business ofFashion. Retrieved January 15, 2017, fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6zd18LUxp4&app=desktop
Gritten,D. (2010).Valentino: The Last Emperor: A fly-on-the-wall documentaryshows the legendary Italian designer`s last two years in charge ofhis fashion house. Retrieved January 15, 2017, fromhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/7801198/Valentino-The-Last-Emperor.html
Turan,K. (2009). Review: `Valentino: The Last Emperor.` Retrieved January15, 2017, fromhttp://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-valentino3-2009apr03-story.html
Tyrnauer,M. (2008). Valentino: The Last Emperor. Retrieved January 13, 2017,from https://m2m.tv/watch/valentino-the-last-emperor/films