You seem to have adapted incredibly well—and very quickly—to the pandemic, when you made the decision to alter the format of your show. Do you see yourself experimenting with show formats going forward? What do you think the future of fashion shows is?
I believe that there will always be a place for a performative approach to fashion, where you “show” your work to the world. What form that takes, ultimately, is the question here. Do we need live attendance, or can this be done virtually? Maybe we can have more intimate gatherings for the true professionals and mix it with digital to reach a wider public. Going fully virtual is not a good solution I think. It can be done once, but buyers and press need to see clothing up close, in real life.
What I am sure of, is the need to do less and to do it better. So, in the future, I do believe that there will be fewer seasonal shows and that brands will think carefully about staging lavish events unless there is a genuine reason for doing so. On my part, I have decided to optimize time and resources, showing menswear and womenswear together in September, while the Armani Privé Atelier in Milan will be available for individual bespoke appointments. And the next couture show, which will take place in January in my Milan headquarters, will be seasonless and will therefore include garments suitable for winter as well as lighter pieces for summer.
So many brands are struggling to figure out a path forward. You’ve lived and worked through several economic crises—what advice would you offer them?
The crucial thing to make a success of any brand is to have a personal, authentic vision that you genuinely believe in. You then have a reason for your brand to exist, and a compass by which to steer your activities. Stick to your beliefs, don’t be side-tracked by criticism or trends. Listen and take on board what people say, by all means, but always follow your instinct, and have self-belief. You may need to adapt to different circumstances and trading conditions–as we are all doing at the moment–but in the end your single-minded focus will mean that you have a good chance of succeeding. The…