1981. Launch of Emporio Armani, a new line, revolutionary and comprehensive, a star shining brilliantly in the fashion firmament. Target market: young men and women who love the Armani style and seek a product with a high fashion content.
Emporio Armani sets a new trend in retail and makes a huge impact, with both its name and the symbol chosen to represent it. The name “Emporio” refers to a new concept of democratic fashion. The eagle, which communicates strength in an immediate and easily recognisable way, was chosen because it stands for power and soaring flight, like a talisman of good fortune for the newly born line. Time has proved the designer’s instincts in this respect to have been right.
While the initial message was targeted exclusively at the young, Emporio Armani has broadened its appeal over the years to embrace everyone who follows the progress of fashion and its latest trends. “From the creative point of view, Emporio Armani involves me as much as Giorgio Armani, but it allows me greater opportunities to come up with amusing, modern and free-spirited looks, while maintaining my essential style. Because the brand is vital and carefree, with a touch of vanity, tempered by a special allure and a certain dignity,” explains Giorgio Armani.
A genuine cultural phenomenon, Emporio Armani has consistently explored new forms of communication – for example, the brand famously hired a huge wall in the middle of Milan to display a gigantic poster. The idea of using a mural broke new ground for a clothing line such as Emporio Armani, which was the first fashion name to address the general public in this way, acting on the knowledge that the big city is the arena where everything happens, and changes occur at the speed of light.
The attention of passers by was captured by the enormous image for the first time in spring 1984. To begin with this image was created by a painted technique (the only option, technically, at the time), but then giant photographic reproduction became a reality following innovative developments in that field. Between 1989 and 1998 the wall reproduced the covers of the Emporio Armani Magazine. (The site is still used today by the brand to display images from current advertising campaigns.)
The Emporio Armani Magazine, a bi-annual publication in a large format containing a wealth of images and content – photographic fashion spreads, music news, arts bulletins, publishing and recording updates, articles and interviews – broke new ground in what is now an accepted medium of brand communication. Its unique status within this genre and its international outlook have turned it into a collectible object of desire, because it predicted new trends, and communicated a style, a way of living, conveying the whole world of Emporio Armani. Among the magazine’s roll call of distinguished contributors were some of the most important and influential photographers in the world: Michel Comte, Max Vadukul, Roxanne Lowit, Albert Watson, Peter Lindbergh, Dominique Issermann, Enrique Badulescu and Walter Chin, great talents capable of expressing the spirit of Emporio Armani through unexpected, creative and dynamic images.
To take this lifestyle-driven world into another dimension, the Emporio Armani Caffè was born, adopting a formula that encourages a love of socialising and getting together – meeting for lunch after a shopping expedition, relishing the menu of simple, healthy, natural dishes, typical of Italian cuisine.
Now, looking back, we can see that it has been a long and adventurous journey since 1981 when the first Emporio Armani store opened in Via Durini in the very centre of Milan. Today, Emporio Armani, with its 196 outlets (either directly owned, or free-standing third party concessions), is a place where you can find clothes for work and sport; you can come away with evening wear or a simple T-shirt, a pair of shoes, a belt or a bag, a gift for a friend, a new piece of jewellery or a watch. The wide choice of products on offer reflects Giorgio Armani’s deeply held conviction that fashion should be a positive force and help people to express their own lifestyle and individuality.
Today’s Emporio Armani is a modern and contemporary collection of clothing and accessories, a statement of style that keeps pace with fashion and foresees new trends: this is a brand rich in ideas and wardrobe solutions, always offering a coherent look that ensures compatibility with previous purchases from the line. “Because young people today like to team a new top with an old pair of trousers, or the jacket of the season with a cherished pair of jeans, the Emporio Armani line is tailormade to give them what they want,” observes Giorgio Armani.