Giorgio Armani Looking at Creating Foundation

Giorgio Armani | Source: Courtesy

MILAN, Italy — Giorgio Armani is studying the possibility of creating a foundation to protect the future of his fashion empire, the Italian designer and businessman said on Monday.

“I am paying a lot of attention to the possibility … I don’t want to leave problems for the people who come after me,” Armani, who turns 80 this year, said after showing an autumn-winter menswear collection in Milan.

The question of who will succeed the creative director and chief executive of one of the world’s most recognizable fashion brands, which had revenue over 2 billion euros ($2.73 billion) in 2012, has occupied industry observers for a decade.

Armani has hinted over the years that he could list or sell the group, and said after recovering from a bout of hepatitis in 2009 that he had started organizing staff to continue his work.

The hands-on designer from northern Italy could set up a foundation similar to the Hans Wilsdorf foundation behind watch brand Rolex, an investment banker said.

Armani, who starred in one of his own advertising campaigns last year, said he needed more information before making a decisions.

“I don’t have as much time at my disposal as I would like for such important things,” he said. “I want to have much more information.”

Armani suggested he had no current plans to list the company publicly, after shareholders in jacket maker Moncler raised more than 780 million euros in an initial public offering in December, but found the prospect interesting.

“Every time someone lists on the stock market and it goes well, it whets my appetite a little,” Armani said.

Italian strategy consultancy Pambianco named Armani the “most quotable” Italian luxury company in a December 2013 study of which brands would do well in a stock market listing.

Male models sauntered down the catwalk for the youth-focused Emporio Armani line on Monday in skinny grey suits with ankle-skimming trousers, sweaters with fake fur inserts, and shimmering blazers in purple and claret.

“When the boys put on these suits, they feel like little princes,” Armani said.

By Astrid Wendlandt; Editor: David Evans