Magazine article Newsweek International

'Design Is for Living'

Magazine article Newsweek International

'Design Is for Living'

Article excerpt

For more than 30 years, Giorgio Armani has been one of the driving forces behind the effort to bring design to the masses. In the 1970s, he ripped the stiff linings out of traditional banker's suits to create the first easy-to-wear, casual menswear line. Then he applied that formula to womenswear, and launched a series of even more accessible clothing lines as well as a broad range of products from eyewear to home furnishings. He hasn't stopped there. Earlier this month in Milan, Armani unveiled an Armani Mercedes-Benz CLK convertible with a soft beige leather interior and a matte gray finish, and inaugurated Armani Prive, a chic nightclub/lounge underneath Armani Nobu in the Emporio Armani complex. Following his Emporio Armani womens- wear show in Milan, the 69-year-old designer spoke with NEWSWEEK's Dana Thomas. Excerpts:

THOMAS: How would you describe your design style?

ARMANI: I have long adored the Orient and used it as a source for my design.

Why?

Because they have great respect for the past and they maintain a lifestyle that is extremely rational and sane. They sit comfortably on the floor, not on rigid chairs. They live in houses with bedrooms separated by paper screens. It's so elegant. On top of a piece of furniture, they will have next to nothing--maybe a bowl. It's a wonderful minimalism, with such purity, sensibility, atmosphere.

Do you believe the Far East has had an important influence on all design?

Absolutely. If you look around, you'll notice that the best designed things come from there. Even if it's an Occidental creation, in the end--if it's something simple--the source is always the Orient. Not France, Italy--all baroque. The Orient.

Why is that?

Because design is truly a part of their everyday lives. Take their cuisine: the food is exquisite in every way. …

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