Dec 15, 2008

Business - Armani plans to keep control as long as he's healthy

Giorgio Armani said he’ll keep control of his fashion company as long as he stays healthy and has no plans to raise cash from outside investors to help withstand a recession.

“If I’m no longer the one that takes a bow at the end of the fashion show, then we’ll find another solution, though it’s hard to imagine what that might be,” Armani, 74, said in an interview on Saturday. “I keep trying to find people who can do things for me. In the end I am always the one who does them.”

Armani also said store openings won’t be scaled back in the downturn, though some “millionaire women” abandoned orders for his ¤25,000 ($33,425) Prive dress, worn by Cate Blanchett last week when she accepted her Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

The designer has been keen to expand rather than step back, and said he unsuccessfully explored a merger with Hermes International SCA. Speculation about Giorgio Armani SpA’s future, usually centering on a deal with L’Oreal SA, has swirled for years.

“I want to enjoy the future at the head of the company I have worked so hard to build,” Armani, wearing a blue cashmere sweater, said at his Milan headquarters.

The designer, who says he decides how even the light switches will look in Armani hotels, ruled out a stock-market listing, and said he spurned approaches from bigger companies, without naming them.

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