By Claudia Cristoferi
MILAN, June 21 (Reuters) – Italian fashion legend Giorgio Armani, 86, hinted at succession plans on Monday, saying he was preparing his future with his closest associates after showing off his latest clothing collection for men.
Armani, who in February 2020 was the first Italian fashion designer to close their catwalks to the public as the coronavirus pandemic hit Italy, was one of the few to put on live shows during fashion week of Milan in progress.
“I love doing it here, where I started is my home,” he told reporters in the garden of his headquarters in Via Borgonuovo in central Milan, where he hosted the show for its spring / summer 2022 men’s clothing collection.
Known as King Giorgio in the fashion world, Armani sent some of his models to the catwalk with face masks.
“You have to be careful, we could easily fall back into the abyss,” he said.
Armani, dressed in his usual dark blue t-shirt and matching pants, greeted and thanked his audience at the end of the show, holding hands with his right arm Leo Dell’Orco.
“A big part of the collection is from him. Leo has worked with me for 67 years, over the years he’s grown more mature but also more stubborn,” Armani joked.
“He’s good with men’s clothes like (Armani’s niece) Silvana is with women’s clothes. I prepare my future with people close to me,” Armani added as if to reassure Armani’s continuity.
In April, he rekindled speculation about his group’s future when he raised the possibility of teaming up with an Italian partner in an interview with Vogue, having previously insisted that Armani should remain independent.
Bankers and analysts say Exor, the holding company of the Italian Agnelli family, could be a good candidate to take a stake in the group, a possibility Exor and Armani declined to comment on.
Armani also reassured reporters about his state of health after rumors he had been hospitalized.
He said he spent two weeks in hospital after breaking his arm tripping on a step leaving a movie theater after the recent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. (Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Alexander Smith)