Armani says designers find it hard to let go

Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:36am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Founding fashion designers need to learn to let go of their companies even though it hurts, according to the doyen of Italian fashion, Giorgio Armani.

The designer, who is in his 70s and is one of Milan's long-established names, has kept investors on their toes as to the future of his company, at times hinting at a bourse listing, at times signaling that he could sell his group.

"It is painful but you need to have the courage that --, once it is done -- not to have any claims over it," he told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore in its Friday issue.

"In the case of reaching a certain age or the market needing a radical change in style, it is extremely difficult for someone who created a company to detach themselves from it."

Armani, known for his shrewd business sense, has been more vague about his plans than other designers of his generation. Valentino Garavani, a Hollywood favorite, retired in January.

Armani has previously slammed "exploitative" private equity firms, which have been snapping up fashion companies such Permira's purchase of Valentino Fashion Group.

He said he did not have a successor picked because he still made all the decisions. "I have never posed myself the problem, looking at the pros and cons ... I have not picked my 'heir'.

"Touch wood, we're not talking about it (but) an organization that is so precise could easily survive me. I can easily manage this as I have always firmly kept the style, management and ownership in my hands."   Continued...

<p>Italian designer Giorgio Armani (C) acknowledges the applause at the end of his Spring/Summer 2009 women's collection during Milan Fashion Week September 22, 2008. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini</p>