CNN Guest of The Week Giorgio Armani in Paris
CNN World News Actuality Presented By Claire Evren
CNN Article & Exclusive Interview By Claire Evren
CNN Claire Evren & Giorgio Armani at Paris
“I adore Paris. It’s stunning and an important city, elegant
My relationship with Paris began when I was working for Cerruti in the mid-1960s. When there was an important event in his store, Nino Cerruti very kindly took me with him. I was fascinated, and the city made a big impression on me. My favorite memories of the city are associated with the early years of my career, the first challenges and friends who are no longer with us. For pleasure, after leaving Cerruti I went for quick holidays, some with friends, some for birthdays. I adore Paris. It’s stunning and an important city, elegant and unstoppable. It’s so different from Rome. In my opinion, Paris has something Nordic about it, sometimes disconnected and cold, but I like that. I am returning now as an entrepreneur with my own business, usually for the Armani Privé show, so I go for four days of fittings. But when I have free time in Paris, there are some classic places I like to visit, like Chez l’Ami Louis, a typical brasserie. Walking into it is like jumping back in time. Or L’Écume des Pages, which is filled with books of all kinds from all over the world. I also enjoy walking in the St.-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. It’s a beautiful area with charming old buildings and picturesque views of the Eiffel Tower. I always like to stand on the Pont Alexandre III; it feels like being in an animated postcard, facing one of the best views of Paris.
We have had the Emporio Armani store on Boulevard St.-Germain for some time, and we had the chance to renovate the structure, so I worked on a new concept, light and fluid, an environment that surrounds and guides customers while enhancing the products. We renovated the Emporio Armani Caffè too. I never expected to have quite such a success with this little restaurant in the heart of Paris, opposite Café de Flore. Nearby, Louis Vuitton has expanded too. I have an apartment above my store, a small studio. I adore it—it’s well-done, very comfortable, and close at hand. I can stop downstairs, eat at the Emporio Armani Caffè, and then go the showroom. It’s all very familiar, almost like an extension of [our headquarters on] Via Borgonuovo in Milan. It’s the real kind of Paris that I like to know.
If I eat at the Emporio Armani Caffè, my favorite thing to order is risotto or pasta with tomato sauce in winter; in summer, I prefer a Caprese salad, Parmigiano cheese flakes, or some truly fresh ricotta cheese. Because Paris is a highly prestigious stage, and particularly this address, in one of the city’s liveliest areas, it seemed the perfect opportunity to introduce my Emporio Armani collection as well. I did try back in 1998, but that wish was unfulfilled until recently. There is a famous story that I was not allowed to show in Paris years ago. [The French police, citing security concerns, shut down his Emporio Armani show in March 1998 less than an hour before it was to start.] I have shown Emporio in New York, and together with Giorgio Armani for some special events, but the Emporio collection has not left Italy for the past 15 years.
Showing in Milan or in Paris, the preparation is the same, as are the steps that lead up to the fashion show. The only challenge is time: getting everything ready in order to move the collection and the staff. The rest follows the usual pace, a sort of ritual. The excitement does not change. After 40 years in the business, I still find the show to be a magical moment—the performance anxiety, the litmus test. But I don’t lose my cool, also because I can’t stand those who do.
I like to shop in the fine-furniture shops in St.-Germain. I always find something that captures my attention. I went there first with Peter Marino when he was designing my Milan home; I spent a fortune and bought lots of pieces. Every time I am in Paris, after I finish in the showroom, I allow myself a little walk around the galleries on Rue Bonaparte, Rue de Seine, and Rue des Beaux-Arts. I’m not a party animal by nature, but popularity and my job involve this aspect too. I like to host dinners at home with family members, friends, and work colleagues. Food is typically a simple Italian antipasti of mozzarella and tomatoes, ham and melon, and soup in the winter. After a main of pasta al Pomodoro, risotto alla Milanese, or chicken or fish with vegetables, there is always a dessert, which is either ice cream or a homemade cake. I enjoy taking my fashion and my idea of lifestyle to the world. This allows me to meet my guests, both friends and famous people I rarely get to see.
Giorgio Armani, Sean Penn Team Up for L.A. Photo Fair
“Sean’s work is perfectly in line with the Acqua for Life program, so joining forces was a natural step. Our great understanding and mutual respect have made this collaboration a truly gratifying experience.”
CNN World News Actuality Claire Evren & Jason Morgan