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Culture

Armani Collection Dresses up Berlin Museum

A new exhibition in Berlin explores the career of iconic Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani. More than 500 of his sleek creations spanning three decades of his career are on display.

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Giorgio Armani is known for his conservative designs and clean lines.

Berlin’s fashion mavens might soon head to a museum instead of the city’s many chic boutiques. Starting May 8, an exhibition celebrating the career of Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani goes on show at Berlin’s New National Gallery.

Recognized as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century along with Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, the exhibition focuses on Armani’s development and contribution to the world of fashion over the past 30 years.

Synonymous for good taste

Designed by acclaimed American theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson, the show has more than 500 sleek Armani creations – long synonymous for good taste – ranging from tailored jackets for women, smoking, vests, close-fitting suits, blazers and evening gowns.

Draped on mannequins that parade in seemingly never ending lines in a massive shaded exhibition hall, Wilson’s installation veers away from the chronology of the creations to focus instead on Armani’s groundbreaking work with style and color.

Though Armani first made his name with elegant and sensual men’s suits, it was his women’s wear that attracted later attention with its unconventional emphasis on unstructured ease and masculine shapes.

The Italian designer is universally credited with creating a timeless vision of modern casual attire with his philosophy that garments should be comfortable and simply designed, with a focus on clean lines and elegant functionality.

This mantra has translated into elegant suits and blazers for the business woman, cool sporty clothes for a day out and richly embroidered robes for the evening. For men, Armani crafts equally sophisticated and perfectly tailored suits from rich fabrics.

Armani’s trademark "non-color" palette of black, gray and beige is evident throughout the Berlin exhibition, though daring designs in pink, blue and green have also been thrown in. The collection also chronicles Armani’s successful drop dead glamour stint in the 1990s when he dressed Hollywood stars such as George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Jodie Foster for the Academy Awards.

"A moment of my work"

The exhibition, which enjoyed successful runs at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2000 and a year later in Bilbao, Spain, has now been expanded to include video presentations and photographs that showcase Armani’s latest creations.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Speaking in Berlin on the eve of the exhibition, the well-tanned 68 year-old said that the show was a personal project for him: "Each garment represents a moment of my work."

Armani admitted that he never thought he’d ever land in a museum with his collection, but said that he was more than happy that the venue was Berlin’s New National Gallery designed by Bauhaus master Mies van der Rohe.

"The garments are brought to the fore very well through the clean lines of the architecture and the discreet background," he said.

The exhibition "Giorgio Armani" will be showing at the National Gallery in Berlin from May 8 to July 13, 2003.

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