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Michel Klein Gains New Backer; Launches Sunglass Collection June 13th, 2012 @ 00:48 AM


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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



 
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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope

Godfrey Deeny
June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM - Beijing, China

Giorgio Armani felt like very much the biggest act in Beijing this week, where he staged a multi-collection runway show attended by local and international stars, and even found time to chastise Pope Benedict XVI, whose papacy has been rocked by the recent Vatileaks scandal.

The designer staged possibly his largest show ever, a total of 287 passages in three collections: Emporio Armani; his signature line and his haute couture Armani Prive, which included 15 new looks he specifically created for the Beijing event.

“There’s something about the Northern Chinese and Northern Italians that is very similar. They are not afraid of hard work, insist on quality and have a certain gravitas. Maybe that’s why I feel so much at home here. It’s not the sunny south where people like to go swimming all the time,” chortled the designer in a freewheeling interview on Thursday, May 31, when in Beijing for a major celebration of his time in China, where he boasts almost 300 stores.

Known for outspokenness, Armani did not shy away from questions about the two recent scandals that have rocked Italy: soccer match fixing, and the arrest of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, accused of leaking damaging documents from the papal apartments, in the massive information dump nicknamed VatiLeaks, which contains information on corrupt price fixing and influence peddling.

In further Vatileaks fallout, police reopened the notorious case of 15-year-old schoolgirl and Vatican citizen Emanuela Orlandi, who disappeared from the streets of central Rome in1983 amid speculation that local Mafia kidnapped her to put pressure on Vatican officials to recover money allegedly lent them.

“I think it’s an appalling scandal. I believe it’s time people take a good look at themselves in the mirror - the religious authorities, believers and the Pope himself. The sort of people one would not expect clearly surrounds him. In my view the investigation is merited. Bring it on!” Armani told FWD.

Turning to match fixing, which has seen Italian police raid the national team’s headquarters two weeks before the upcoming Euro 2012 championship, in which Italy is one of the favorites.

“It’s not a discovery. Football has had far too much of it. It’s a scandalous scandal. People have faith in their teams and this destroys it. I have a basketball team, and recently I told its managers that if I find even a sniff of a scandal, I would sell the whole team,” insisted Armani, who owns the EA7 Emoprio team in Milan, where his business is based.

Armani’s event, entitled “One Night in Beijing” climaxed with a brilliant display of vocals by Mary J. Blige in a five-song performance inside The Tank, a giant disused gas tank at 792, the former armaments factory that is Asia’s most important modern art gallery center, done up as an extremely swish nightclub.

Attended by movie stars like Shy Qi, Michelle Yeoh, Armani’s old buddy Tina Turner, resplendent in a studded Armani Prive jumpsuit from four years ago, and some 300 editors and journalists the event was a glittering confirmation of Armani’s huge local reputation.

While also in China, Armani also launched his latest online project Tweettalks, a new debate series debuted by a discussion between international critics and retailers, Vogue China editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung and Hung Huang, the Chinese blogger who boasts a remarkable 4.7 million followers.

The designer also found time to appear on BTV, a leading Chinese-language television channel, and earned a standing ovation when he staged a seminar with Cheung at Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts, China’s oldest art and design school. There he announced the names of two students who had won six-month apprenticeship in his Milan headquarters.

“I’d like to think that these students would really be able to lend a hand. And, who knows, end up becoming part of our creative family,” insisted the designer.

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