From the gianduja-and-ginger tart at the Armani/Ristorante in Ginza to the dazzling spread of new La Prima bags at the redesigned flagship in Milan, every element of the Giorgio Armani universe has been masterminded by the multi-talented man at the center of it all. Only 25 days into 2020, Armani has already unveiled two collections (men’s wear and haute couture) and hunkered down to work on preparations for the 20th anniversary of Armani/Casa. Among his many upcoming journeys, Armani will soon be heading to Dubai, where he will show his Cruise 2021 collection and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the city’s Armani Hotel. He has intimate knowledge of the good life and, herewith, he shares its key components. —Ashley Baker
App: None. We are experiencing a moment of progressive de-personalization, in which we are constantly in a rush and risk losing sight of the things that are important. I find that apps can cause you to waste precious time when sometimes it would be easier—and quicker—to just make a call.
Breakfast, weekday: Breakfast is a very important meal. It must be nutritious, yet light. My breakfast consists of yogurt, oatmeal, prunes, and nuts.
Diet: I am a health-conscious gourmet, a great admirer of genuine, light, Mediterranean cuisine. I love vegetables and all vegetable-based dishes, which are at the heart of my diet. I feel that my body benefits from my eating in a balanced and healthy way, and thereby achieves balance. The one thing I never do is skip a meal. Even when work is at its most frenetic, I never give up my break, a chance to sit at the table and eat properly.
Dress: The kimono, an expression of Japanese craftsmanship, is a perfect garment. It is crafted with a pure and simple cut, which enhances the splendor of the fabric and the body language of the person wearing it.
Family: My family and the people I trust who work with me are the inspiration in my work and my life.
First Lady: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is the legendary figure of an era who goes beyond that era, beyond trends. And this is because nature endowed her with a strong character; her education shaped her to become an exemplary First Lady; culture and dignity helped her to overcome life’s tragedies with courage. The same can be said of her style of dressing: more international than American, more sophisticated than ostentatious, more relaxed than stilted.
Fitness regime: There’s nothing mysterious or extraordinary about it. Half an hour of training every day, advised by a personal trainer who figures out and varies the exercises as required. And then a healthy, balanced diet, breaking the rules every so often.
Friend: I would say that Leo Dell’Orco is my right-hand man. He is the person to whom I have entrusted my most private thoughts, and he keeps them to himself, always exercising great discretion. What I appreciate most about his personality is his wonderful quality of being able to smile when you first meet in the morning. And also his tenacity and enthusiasm, but above all his great heart of gold. I believe that his presence, sometimes understated, sometimes lively, has helped to soften my timid and reserved character.
Hotel: For me, a hotel must offer a refined, discreet environment, where sophisticated design and beauty coexist with comfort. It must be a place that is perfectly integrated within the geographical and cultural context, always offering that particular hint that reminds the guest of its location.
Insult: “Idiots are never elegant.”
Jacket: The unstructured jacket is rightly remembered as the symbol of my fashion, because it represented a revolution and changed the destiny of the garment from 1980 onwards, on a global scale.
Movie: I love cinema very much, and I see a lot of films. My cult film is Notorious, which I would define as pure elegance due to the style and perfection of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
Novel: I like The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, because of the apparent simplicity and naturalness with which the author speaks great truths, without embellishment, but with a heartfelt emotional tone.
Pet: Cats. I love them very much; I’ve had up to five of them. I currently have two, Mairì and Angel, and they are happy couch companions on relaxing evenings.
Piece of advice: I would advise young designers to be patient: finding their own style and tone of voice is crucial, but it takes time.
Restaurant: Armani/Ristorante is inspired by the great tradition of Italian cuisine, and offers a rich menu that changes according to the seasonality of the ingredients. All of the dishes are created using only and exclusively the best raw materials to ensure the highest-quality cuisine.
Saying: Perhaps my motto, which I owe to Albert Einstein, is: “We can’t expect things to change if we keep doing the same things.”
Singer: Eric Clapton. I have always had great admiration for his extraordinary talent as a contemporary musician. But over the years I have also learned to appreciate his personality, character, and sense of humanity. Eric, like all great characters, is shy, unpretentious, and spontaneous. In addition, he is a rare intellectual with a sense of humor.
Voice: Tina [Turner’s] voice is a perfect combination of charisma, magnetism, and strength, just like her personality. She is a great artist and a dear friend of mine, and I am proud to have worked with her many times. What I admire most is her irrepressible energy, the tenacity that she has shown over the years, her way of evolving while remaining eternally young. Each time we’re together I realize, when I look at her, that time really does stand still for her.
Television series: The Last Czars. I love drama series based on historical events, and I found this one to be of great impact because of the choice to include excerpts from original films of the time. I was particularly moved by the character of the czarina and the controversial figure of Rasputin.
Vacation: When I go on holiday, I like to take a real break, to cut off from the frantic rhythm of daily life. This is why I love the sea, and as soon as I can, I take refuge on the island of Pantelleria or, even further away, Antigua.
Wake-up time: Seven o’clock. I have always woken up early. I thought I was doing it out of duty, but I found out it’s actually a great pleasure, because it follows the natural rhythm of the day.
Weekend ensemble: A silk T-shirt, cashmere pullover, comfortable trousers with a drawstring waist—always blue—and sneakers.
Work of art: The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai. This work represents the synthesis of two great passions of mine: Japanese prints, which often inspire my collections, and the sea.