The history of the early years that formed Mr. Armani and led him to start the company that bears his name. He was born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza, where he was raised with older brother Sergio and younger sister Rosanna by his mother Maria Raimondi and father Ugo Armani.
Whilst at secondary school at the Liceo Scientifico Respighi in Piacenza, Armani aspired to a career in medicine, particularly after seeing the effects of the recent Second World War but also after reading A. J. Cronin's The Citadel. “I wanted to be a country doctor and save lives… like a hero in a Hollywood film.”, he has said. So he enrolled in the Department of Medicine at the University of Milan, but after three years, in 1953, he broke off his studies and joined the army. Because of his medical studies, he was promoted and transferred to an infirmary in Verona. After experiencing hospital life and occasional evenings at the Arena in Verona, he decided to look for a different career path.
After his stint in the armed forces, Giorgio Armani found a job as a much-celebrated merchandiser at La Rinascente, a department store in Milan. He then went on to become a seller for the menswear department
- in which capacity he gained valuable experience in the marketing aspect of the fashion industry. “I was an observer. I liked to listen rather than openly express myself. This trait is something that I've retained over the years”.
In the mid-1960s, Armani moved to the Nino Cerutti company, for which he designed menswear. His skills were in demand, and for the next decade, while continuing to work for Cerutti, Armani also free-lanced, contributing designs to as many as ten manufacturers at a time.
Perhaps the most formative moment in Giorgio Armani’s life was meeting Sergio Galeotti in 1966. A few years later his friend would suggest that they would start a company together based on his design “There was a lot of courage on his part, which I was lacking, being more adult and therefore more cautious. He had a great deal of strength, and maybe even some form of irresponsibility. And I operated with a dose of realism, and maybe even a little genius that has been very useful to me in my life.” They went on to form Giorgio Armani Spa in 1975 with an initial investment of 10 000 dollars, partly derived from the sale of their Volkswagen. The rest, as they say, is history…