Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani has hinted at the possibility of partnering with an investor for his eponymous brand, marking a potential shift from the company’s traditional independence. In an interview with Vogue, Armani mentioned that he is considering a partnership with a significant Italian firm, not necessarily in the fashion industry. However, he made it clear that he is not considering a French buyer, such as LVMH or Kering.

This unexpected announcement has ignited speculation concerning the future trajectory of the renowned luxury brand. Rumors have been circulating in the Italian luxury market, especially after Dolce & Gabbana denied claims of a collaboration with Kering but expressed openness to a broader Italian project. Armani’s willingness to entertain the idea of a partnership is viewed as a significant departure from his previous statements emphasizing the brand’s independence.

One potential contender for a partnership with Giorgio Armani is Exor, the holding company owned by the Agnelli family. Exor is well-known for controlling stakes in automotive manufacturers Stellantis and Ferrari, as well as investments in The Economist media group and football club Juventus. These recent acquisitions, alongside Exor’s interest in the luxury market demonstrated by their purchases of Christian Louboutin and Shang Xia, make them a possible fit for Armani.

Giorgio Armani has been actively planning for the future succession of his brand. In 2016, he established a foundation in his name to transfer a portion of shares in the holding company that controls his group. This move ensures protection against takeovers or dismantlement. Although Armani does not have children, he has expressed his intention to pass down a significant portion of the business to his family. His nieces, Roberta and Silvana Armani, play active roles within the company, and his nephew, Andrea Camerana, was previously seen as a potential heir before leaving in 2014. Additionally, Pantaleo Dell’Orco, Armani’s longtime assistant, has been considered a possible successor. However, the designer believes that someone capable of making decisions and assuming the role of a direct replacement as the brand’s leader is still lacking.

For decades, Giorgio Armani’s brand has been synonymous with timeless elegance and sophistication. A potential partnership could present new opportunities for growth and expansion. While details about the potential collaboration are limited, it is evident that the Italian luxury market is experiencing a period of speculation and potential transformation. Armani’s willingness to embrace change mirrors the evolving landscape of the fashion industry, with designers and brands actively exploring new paths to secure their long-term success and legacy. As the fashion world eagerly awaits further developments, only time will reveal what lies ahead for the iconic Giorgio Armani brand.

Useful links:
Vogue Business: Giorgio Armani grooming his successors
The Business of Fashion: Giorgio Armani on selling to his family, and his future