AMERICAN GIGOLO, the 1980 film starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, epitomised the excess that would come to define the 1980s. The cocaine, the cars, the synth-heavy music all served as the alluring backdrop to the life of Julian Kay (Gere), the “highest paid lover in Beverly Hills”. And while Gere puts on a career-defining performance, it’s not so much what he says or does, as what he wears. Each scene is accompanied by an outfit that helped set the stylistic tone for the preceding decades.

“To me, the clothes and the character were the same,” the director Paul Shrader later said of his protagonist. “I mean, this is a guy who does a line of coke in order to get dressed.”

The person responsible for said clothes was a then up-and-coming Italian designer by the name of Giorgio Armani. Having released his first collection just five years prior, Armani brought about a shift in menswear from traditional fabrics into linen, allowing for a more relaxed silhouette, while softer colours like beige, brown and moss green replaced the harsher blacks and navies of the ’70s. There was an effortless appeal to Armani’s man, a sexiness that balanced elegance with uncompromising masculinity.

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Of course, Giorgio Armani didn’t stop with American Gigolo. After the zeitgeist-shaping film, he became the most in-demand designer in Hollywood, creating bespoke garments for leading actors from Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner to George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Then came the red carpets. Understanding the cultural appeal of actors, Armani started dressing stars for premieres and events, introducing a new avenue for expression beyond the screen. Indeed Armani’s influence on red carpet fashion is the subject of a new book by Dijanna Mulhearn, Red Carpet Oscars, for which Armani himself wrote the introduction.

“It was a mutual attraction that created a lasting dialogue,” writes the designer. “Prior to that, fashion designers and international red-carpet occasions rarely crossed paths…These men and women turned to me, immediately intuiting that a new natural and essential elegance could help increase their star power without slipping into anachronistic excesses.”

Thankfully, this “natural and essential elegance” is available to those of us not destined to appear on a red carpet any time soon. Giorgio Armani’s made to measure service combines the designer’s minimalist style with bespoke craftsmanship, creating tailored garments that cover formalwear and refined casual wear. In both the Sydney and Melbourne Giorgio Armani boutiques, senior made to measure specialists are available for individual consultations, and remain on hand to guide you through the process from designing to purchase and beyond. 

Should you need some inspiration, we’ve rounded up a selection of Giorgio Armani’s most iconic moments in cinema.

Giorgio Armani’s best designs in cinema


American Gigolo, 1980

Sparking the collaboration between fashion and film was Richard Gere’s portrayal of Armani-wearing Julian Kay.


The Untouchables, 1987

Giorgio Armani dressed three Hollywood heavyweights in Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner and Sean Connery.


The Bodyguard, 1992

Costner is dressed once again, this time for his role supporting Whitney Houston.


Ocean’s 13, 2007

George Clooney and Brad Pitt go about their heist business dressed in head-to-toe Giorgio Armani.


Inglorious Basterds, 2009

The white suit Pitt wears as Naxi hunter Aldo Raine is classic Armani.


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, 2011

Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt wears an evening suit designed by the Italian fashion icon.


The Dark Knight Rises, 2012

Working with Oscar winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, Armani created two bespoke suits to be worn by Christian Bale.


Giorgio Armani rewrites the narrative

Daniel Craig’s party tux is a good argument for a seventies Bond reboot