Giorgio Armani celebrates ten years of the Armani Hotel in Dubai with his signature One Night Only extravaganza.
Having just landed in Dubai where he worked until midnight inspecting the runway ahead of his upcoming fashion show, Giorgio Armani is now reflecting on the emirate where, ten years ago, he opened his first Armani Hotel in one of the most striking buildings in the world—the Burj Khalifa. It may come as a surprise to some that Armani considers Dubai close to both home and heart. “Although, superficially, you might see Milan and Dubai as very different places–in terms of history, architecture, culture and climate–in fact there are some similarities. Both cities are dynamic hubs. Milan is a powerhouse for business and so is Dubai. And yet, both cities are also attractive to tourists, who, in each case, come in part to enjoy the great retail experience offered,” he states. Over the course of 46 years, Armani has built a beast of a brand, with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index citing that Armani has an estimated net worth just shy of US $10 billion, leading almost 10 000 employees worldwide. To Armani, business is just one face of the coin that also counts soul and spirit. On a more personal note, he adds, “I like the fact that Dubai has roots as an 18th-century fishing village, as I see in its trajectory an echo of my own. I came from the town of Piacenza, outside Milan, and have created a global fashion house that speaks to many people of different countries and cultures. That is what I relate to in Dubai – the way it has developed, and how it embraces its visitors, and leaves them with memories of energy and life.” Asked what he loves most of all of the emirate, and he responds from the gut, “It’s life-affirming quality. When you are in Dubai, you feel alive to the world.”
Armani speaks from a place of gratitude, and also service. During the pandemic, he converted his artisanal workshops to produce over 30,000 disposable gowns for healthcare workers, donated to hospitals, health care facilities, and nursing homes. Now, the 87-year-old workhorse is more focused than ever; with substantial reports announcing that his company will reach revenues mirroring the pre-pandemic era by 2022. From his tremendous experience he has learned the keys to staying on top, citing “single-minded belief and passion” as the markers of his success. “If you know who you are and what you stand for, if you know what your goals and aims are, then you can survive tough times. Where fashion is concerned, my advice to anyone thinking of this as a career is to work out what your point of view is, and then believe in it. Follow your vision. Don’t get side-tracked by trends or fads. Stick to the road. That way you won’t get lost.”
On October 26th, his road will have led him again to Dubai, for the One Night Only event. It is a signature extravaganza with a fashion show featuring a selection of garments for men and women for spring summer 2022, a summary of Armani themes reinterpreted in new colors and with light embellishment along with immersive experiences for guests attending. It will occur at the base of the Burj Khalifa, marking ten years of the Armani Hotel, located inside its first 39 floors and comprising 160 guest rooms and suites and 144 residences. In Dubai, Armani sees pragmatism. “This is a city that likes to get things done in a straightforward way,” he states. “I must say, running a hotel here for a decade has been a remarkable experience – and I am so proud of how it has become fully integrated into the city that houses it. My hotel feels like it is a part of the dynamism of the city. That is why it works so well. It is a natural fit with Dubai, as Armani is also a natural fit with the city.” First staged in London, in 2006, the One Night Only events have since been replicated around the world. “It is meant to be a memorable one-off experience,” states Armani. “And yet, the aesthetic values that it showcases are absolutely grounded in the idea of timeless style.” He adds to this the philosophical tenets of elegance, simplicity, comfort, wearability, and timeless style rather than the passing trends, and sustainability. He affirms that this Dubai event has been conceived to minimize the impact on the environment in accordance with ISO 20121. It will avoid single-use plastic and avoid food-waste. It will incentivise the reuse and recycling of materials, as well as the use of hybrid or electric cars and LED lighting. Suppliers will comply with specific social and environmental clauses and will support nature-based solutions projects to offset the event-related residual GHG’s emissions.
“The values of the house are implicit in everything that I create and every expression of the world of Armani. So, there is no specific iteration of them for Dubai, except that being Dubai the home of the first ever Armani Hotel, it has a great example of the Armani aesthetic at its very heart,” he says. “One of the reasons I was so excited to develop the hotel is that I wanted to create an environment that could embody so many different aspects of my vision – from the interior design to the food and drink offer and the wellbeing element.” Considering the last decade and multiple highlights of the Armani Hotel, he expresses that to him, the fundamental highlight is the way in which he has brought to life the Stay with Armani philosophy. “This was an idea that I had – I wanted to create a hotel where guests would feel as if they were my own, personal house guests. I wanted them to receive the type of welcome and service I give my friends when they come to visit me at one of my homes. It is a form of tailored hospitality that is difficult to find when you travel.”
Armani’s “house guests” are particularly cultured. Speaking specifically of Armani clients from the region, he considers, “She is showing herself to have taste and to understand that style resides in elegance rather than anything necessarily more showy and dramatic. She shows herself to be a connoisseur of good design and a person of refined sensibility. She is holding back. She is suggesting that you will have to do some work to get to know her. But that it will be worthwhile to do so.” Eccolo, Armani and his muse, one in the same.