Without naming names, Armani finally responded to the speculation over the future of his $2 billion global empire, which he, at a highly active and young-looking 69, admittedly micromanages, directing everything from communications to the design of his ready-to-wear, accessories, beauty and home collections to the nuts and bolts of a business he continues to own lock, stock and barrel.
Retirement is not in his vocabulary. And he applied his energized leadership throughout his five-day visit here this week, charging through the induction ceremony on Tuesday, as well as the after bash late that night, even as many of his famously famous friends had long gone to bed.
Armani, in fact, appears less concerned with his successors than the industrywide challenges that lie ahead. With his ready-to-wear and Armani Casa collections operating as expected, he’s focusing on further strengthening his accessories and beauty businesses. Although he stressed that both are doing well, it’s a matter of forces that can be controlled — brand recognition for both categories — and uncontrolled, such as the international economy and politics.
This week’s induction ceremonies, including Monday afternoon’s unveiling of the sidewalk plaque, introduced the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style. The Rodeo Drive Committee and the city of Beverly Hills created the tribute to honor designers and style legends for their contributions in the ever-merging worlds of fashion and entertainment. Artist Robert Graham, on hand at the event with wife Anjelica Huston, created the plaque and maquette, which legendary retailer Fred Hayman, who brought the designer and many others to the street, called “our Oscar of fashion.”
“Tonight is a coming together of two men who I love,” Huston said as the evening got under way. “Two extreme, powerful talents. He’s one of those people who I am grateful to have had in my life for a long, long time — even before I met Robert.”