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06-12-2003
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Fashion Design

Of all the artistic genres, fashion has been slapped with the worst condemnation: frivolity. It's a discipline of flounces and featherweight chiffons, seemingly all surface and no substance. It doesn't help that its main archives are glossy pages of style rags, home to legions of commercial advertisements and precious little intellectual commentary.
And yet, fashion is the art form that gets most deeply under our skin -- perhaps because it's the one that sits closest to it. The art of apparel is entrenched in our cultural memories; ever since prehistoric cultures discovered that clothing could be used for embellishment as well as utility, fashion has inspired a primal response. We see the Dior peplum, the Norell sheath, the Galliano embroidery, and we are moved.

In a sense, clothing is the most personal art form, because it expresses a vision of the individual self, what place we would like to occupy in the cultural landscape, or what new worlds we dream of inhabiting. Clothing is part social signifier, part delicious fantasy. Truly, fashion is the artistic discipline that combines all others. The sweeping folds of a Versace gown speak to sculpture; the precisely engineered cut belies an architectural sensibility; the fabric is simply another canvas on which the designer paints his stitches. And we ourselves become integrated into the art as we wear and watch others wear. Fashion is at once visual and tactile, interactive and accessible.

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06-12-2003
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Giorgio Armani

1934 - present
Born: Piacenza
Worked: Milan, Italy


Giorgio Armani. The name alone connotes impeccable taste. An Armani suit does more than reflect one's style or status -- it makes a statement about one's personal values. Wearing an Armani expresses an appreciation for the finer things in life, for comfort, and for oneself. The most successful menswear designer in Italy, Armani specializes in sophisticated, tailored, easy-fit suits for both men and women. His designs are known for their timeless, understated elegance. To many, owning a closet full of Armani suits is a symbol of having "made it" in the world.
Armani's life reads like a true "local-boy-makes-good" story. Born in a small country village outside of Milan, Giorgio climbed to the pinnacle of success by hard work, willpower, and creative vision. After working as a freelance designer, a fashion buyer, and a fashion coordinator for nearly 20 years, Armani started his own label. His unique philosophy holds that garments should be comfortable and simply designed, with an emphasis on clean lines and elegant functionality. Too often, fashion is associated with excess and show; Armani takes fashion in a more subtle, graceful direction.

Since the Armani label started in 1973, it has attained a worldwide following and has launched several offshoot labels. Emporio Armani, A|X Armani Exchange, Armani Jeans, and Armani USA offer a wider range of casual wear and accessories at more affordable prices. Rather than catering to only the most wealthy clientele, Armani allows middle-class consumers to enjoy the quality, luxury, and style of the Armani name.

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