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Giorgio Armani is more than just a designer. He’s an icon, an institution and a multinational billion-dollar brand. Founded in 1975 as a menswear label (womenswear followed in 1976), Armani built his reputation designing unstructured tailoring that immediately spoke to the upwardly mobile. In 1980, Armani outfitted the cast of American Gigolo starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, the success of which led to an appearance on the cover of Time magazine and Armani jackets being widely considered the ultimate status symbol. Today the Armani brand consists of Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, AX | Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani/Casa. Armani attributes his success to always being one step ahead of the curve. In 2007, he was the first designer to broadcast his haute couture collection live on the Internet. He was also one of the first designers to diversify into lifestyle, opening a chain of cafes, restaurants and luxury hotels in Milan, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, Tokyo and Shanghai. A regular fixture on the red carpet, Armani has designed stage costumes for Lady Gaga, while his campaigns star everyone from Rihanna, to Cate Blanchett and the Beckhams.

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