Bloomberg Businessweek

Last Man Standing

Can Giorgio Armani, at 84, turn around a legendary company founded on a style he turned classic?

A few days after the death of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld in February, Giorgio Armani summoned guests to his personal museum in Milan for his fall-winter collection runway show. At the former granary wrapped in stark concrete walls, he revealed the latest lineup of his softly tailored jackets, velvet bombers, and evening gowns to the friendly nods of magazine editors, department-store buyers, and celebrity clients such as Naomi Watts. At the finale, instead of his habitual quick bow and wave, Armani took the hand of a model and paraded the length of the catwalk. The crowd cheered in amazement. Perhaps a touch of sentiment in the wake of Lagerfeld’s passing contributed to the applause. Nevertheless, it was a thunderous exclamation that the 84-year-old Armani—the creative director, chief executive officer, and sole owner of his namesake company—remains a force to contend with and one of the last creative titans of the fashion industry.

“It was actually quite an emotional moment,” Armani, a cautious communicator

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