Giorgio Armani journeyed to Moscow this week despite feeling weak after a bout with hepatitis. The Russian capital's fashion industry has been crippled by the economic crisis for about a year now, and Armani went to lend his moral support. While talking to reporters over there, the 75-year-old designer hinted at retirement. "I'm already organizing staff who will continue my work," he said. He also admitted — despite being known as "King Giorgio" in Italy — that he is, in fact, human. "Of course I am not eternal, there comes a time when you must hand it over." But as he's done with investors in the past — one day he wants a bourse listing, the next he wants to sell his entire empire — he's giving mixed messages. Last month he made some management changes to ease his workload, yet in Russia he wanted everyone to come and see how good he looks.
Dressed in a sleek black suit, Armani joked with reporters about his appearance: "You see how I am, I don't look bad yet, do I?" he remarked to a roaring round of applause.
Armani's deputy general manager John Hooks thinks that, though Armani will lose money this year, the economy has bottomed out for the Armani empire and the fashion industry as a whole. Maybe Giorgio is waiting to leave on a high note. Being beautiful isn't a bad way to bow out, but being beautiful and making bank is so much better.