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Fashion designer Giorgio Armani turns 85

Sven Töniges
July 11, 2019

Self-taught fashion designer Giorgio Armani created a fashion empire out of nothing. Now that the Italian is turning 85, questions about who will succeed the fashion king remain unanswered.

Giorgio Armani
Image: Getty Images/P. Le Segretain

It is difficult to imagine that Giorgio Armani might have had any other calling.

The Italian fashion designer, born in northern Italian town of Piacenza in 1934, had wanted to become a doctor, but dropped out of medical school and had other plans.

After working as a window dresser in a Milan department store, and later a menswear department sales assistant, the untrained designer went on to enliven the fashion world with a timeless elegance that placed him in the upper echelons of great 20th century designers.

Read moreTimeless beauty: Haute Couture by Armani 

'My life is my work'

The press likes to call the fashion designer "King George," with The New York Times in 2009 noting that "as the president, chief executive and sole shareholder of the multibillion-dollar company he founded in 1975, Armani is the wealthiest fashion designer on the planet." Still the owner of the global fashion empire that bears his name, it appears Armani remains a fashion king.

As Armani celebrates his 85th birthday on July 11, the fashion world is wondering who will follow in his footsteps. Speaking on Italian television last year, Armani mentioned his nephews and nieces as possible heirs.

But in an interview with the Financial Times just two years ago, Armani made it clear he wasn't planning on leaving the business. "My life is my work," he said.

Armani Museum