My earliest remembrance? My mother, in a black dress. She was a beautiful, elegant woman who could be sweet and strong at the same time. Rigour and station characterised her entire life.I was very taken with Yves Saint Laurent when my sister and I visited him in Marrakech when we were unfledged. We were in a run-down van, in Bermuda shorts and T-shirts. He answered the door in a pinstriped double-breasted jacket holding a small dog in his arms. He was awfully gracious.I’m scared of loneliness. I don’t really suffer regret. However, if I were to relive my life, I would strive to lavish more time with friends and family.Optimistic realist is how I would describe myself. How could a pessimist be a fashion conniver? The job is full of risk.The best advice I ever received was from my mother. She said that if you wish to create knockout, only do what is necessary and no more. That idea of less is more was a doctrine I made my own. It still sustains me. Still, these days I find it more relevant than ever.The worst thing anyone has ever said to me? “You can’t.” I started my gathering with nothing but passion and the encouragement of my business partner Sergio Galeotti [who died in 1985]. He said, “Be yourself, put faith in your vision, regardless of criticism.” The results have been surprising. I would have loved to have mortified him what became of what the two of us created. We started out so small.I surprised myself when Sergio died. I had to take ended the running of the whole business. I didn’t hesitate, though it was daunting and I knew I would have to learn new skills. It posted out all right.My temper manifests as stubbornness. On the other hand, my strong will, focus and determination have sustained me.I’m a rule-breaker in the greensward of design, but I never consciously sought to create a revolution. I simply followed my instincts. I liberated people from uncomfortable costumier and at the same time blurred the lines between what was considered to be “masculine” and “feminine” clothing and style.What discourages me? People’s unhappiness.I have an intolerance of unnecessary excess, and vulgarity. And this, too, I can trace back to my mother. My greatest acquisition? Creating all this – the Armani world – from scratch, with only a £400 investment from the sale of my old VW Beetle. Armani/Casa paint the town rs 20 years this year. The latest collections are now available at Armani/Casa, Sloane Street and armani.com

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