Behind every great man, there really is always a great woman and I just met one of those women, Roberta Armani. Actually in the case of Giorgio Armani, clearly one of the true greats in the fashion design world, he is lucky to have THREE great women that are there to assist him and he can do this, keeping it all in the family.
Being Italian, I know the importance of family. It just can’t get any better than that. Yes, he has three talented nieces, Silvana who is guiding the design world, Andrea, oversees Marketing and Roberta, is Director of V.I.P., P.R. and globalization worldwide for the Armani brand.
How lucky was I to have been one of the chosen few to get to spend some one-on-one time with Roberta Armani during her recent visit to Neiman Marcus on Tuesday, October 5. First, there is the woman. She is truly a beauty inside and out. So poised yet so warm, that you feel that you’ve known her forever. I also saw in her a woman of great strength and commitment to the brand that means so much to her family.
Having worked in fashion for many years I have always gotten a lot of feedback on the “glamorous” jobs I have had! I know, however, that the limited doses of glamour have always met with lots of hard work, long hours, and many days away from home. Knowing all of that, I still had to say to Roberta that she may truly have a “dream job” and even she chuckled that yes, she works very, very hard, but it really is a pretty awesome job to have!
Here is some insight into the lovely Ms. Armani and lots of the goings on of the Armani brand for the future ahead!
RP: In your position, you are already making great strides at making Armani a total luxury lifestyle brand worldwide. How do you see taking this to the next generation of Armani customers? I know that you have a Facebook page, do you see social media as a tool for you to use in reaching out to these younger customers?
RA: I see Social Media AS THE FUTURE. We are taking an aggressive stand. My uncle’s only concern is that we use the same refinement and quality look in our online and social media presence as is representative of our brand image.
RP: What new crop of celebrities do you see becoming the “”faces or “friends” as you have been quoted as calling them, of Armani?
RA: First of all, it is very important to my uncle that these celebrities are our friends first. We want our relationships to be relaxed, built on friendships, not commercial agreements. There are many that we like to be associated with. To name a few: Cate Blanchette, Anne Hathaway, Beyonce, Alicia Keys. Of course, who can forget the Lady Gaga amazing Armani Prive dress from the Grammys. You would never think of my uncle and GaGa working very well together, but they are similar in many ways. They are both very talented artists, hard workers, very serious about their work. Everything he does for her truly becomes a work of art!
RP: As I am one of the people that remembers vividly American Gigolo (1980, yikes!) and how hot Richard Gere was in his Armani wardrobe that became such an important part of the movie and really put Armani on the map, so to speak. Anything on the horizon similar to that, that we can look forward to?
RA: Well, first of all, what was so important about that movie was that no one had ever done that before in a movie, really showcase the clothing. That was a first. We are happy to say we have dressed Justin Timberlake in The Social Network movie, which appears to be destined to be a huge movie! Also, Naomi Watts is premiering her new movie, Fair Game, in New York City and in it she portrays a female CIA agent. The funny thing is that the real CIA agent that the movie is based on actually wore Armani, so it is only fitting that we dress Naomi in all Armani for this movie. I will be in NYC to attend premiere with her this week. (Again, is her life exciting or what????)
RP: The Armani lifestyle brand is stepping out in lots of new ways, such as the “all in one concept” that I saw in Milano. Everything from fragrance to furniture under one roof. I also understand that you have become a luxury Hotelier and have opened a hotel in Dubai. Do you have plans for taking these concepts to other cities and in doing this, rethinking your look at all to be more characteristic of the different cultures?
RA: We have opened another of our all-in-one concepts in New York on Fifth Ave., have had one in Hong Kong and have plans for Tokyo. We are adding a hotel to the Milano location. We were very touched and moved by the amazing acceptance of our hotel concept in Dubai. We were directed to not alter what we stand for and do what we do best and the people would love it. We were wildly excited about this and see this as a huge life changing experience for us. We can go to these foreign places and people will accept us for who we are!
In closing, I asked Roberta to reflect on the Armani brand. My perception of course, is of fine tailoring, beautiful luxe fabrics and divine beading treatments. She agreed on that and added that it has always been important to her uncle to be himself and not follow trends. He wants his clothes to be timeless and represent quintessential beauty and be for all women to love and enjoy!
As we were winding down and about to depart for the Fall 2010 fashion runway show and luncheon for Neiman’s many loyal Armani customers, I asked a last question of Roberta. What does she feel she has learned from her uncle? She replied, “My uncle is a force of nature. He works us all very hard but only because he works himself harder.” He has spent his life “investing” in himself. All of his time and resources he reinvests into his company, which is how he has been able to remain one of the few “independents” in the business today.
I’ll end this with a Giorgio Armani philosophy from his many years of dressing women, as quoted to me by his niece, “When a woman enters a room, she should not be noticed, she should be remembered”. That says it all about the timelessness of Armani dressing and the lovely woman, Ms.Roberta Armani, that represents this so well.