Images: courtesy of Giorgio Armani

IT ALL STARTED with the suit. Padded in the shoulders and nipped at the waist, it was in the ’80s that Giorgio Armani debuted the uniform that changed the way stylish and powerful men everywhere wanted to dress. The silhouette debuted in the 1980 film American Gigolo starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, where Armani served as costume designer. The film made Gere a star, but it also established Armani as a highly sought after red carpet designer, as well as the new corporate elite’s go-to tailor. Those that wanted to announce themselves in a room shoulders first wore Armani. In effect, Armani’s design became the original power suit, synonymous with wealth and swagger, packaged with a streamlined simplicity that brought an ease to stuffy notions of tailoring in the late twentieth century.

Few designers can lay claim to having such a comprehensive influence on the way modern men dress. But with a career spanning almost half a century at his eponymous label, and costume designing for several other films (he dressed Robert de Niro in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 Goodfellas), a number of Mr. Armani’s designs dictate the way you and I dress today.

To celebrate his 90th birthday, we look back at six of the Italian designer’s most impactful contributions to menswear.

Style notes to live by, courtesy of Mr. Armani

The power suit

Giorgio Armani, costume designer. It’s a title that most are unaware of when walking past an Armani store in any fashion captial. But other than American Gigolo, Armani also designed costumes for Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables in the ’80s, and Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas at the turn of the decade. It’s clear that directors at the time sought the designer’s advice when dressing their actors, which then became emulated by men everywhere. With its presence expanding beyond his native Milan, the silhouette became the uniform of corporate America: a shorthand for the wealth and swagger of the era’s corporate elite.

Summer navy

Pronto! We’re sure you had this on your Euro-summer fit mood board. Perhaps no one looks better in navy than a tanned Mr. Armani. But a T-shirt tucked into pleated shorts is one of his many classic examples of how to pull off sophistication in the Mediterranean heat. Even today, like the pair Mr. Armani dons here, long shorts are angling for a comeback – many designers have channelled this spirit of ease into their spring/summer 2025 collections.

Pleats, please

Classic menswear pieces might have made their way into the streetwear lexicon, but Mr. Armani has always been a fan of pleated long trousers. Seen here in the early years of his career, his trousers embody the flared ends of the 70s. But as trousers have tapered and widened over subsequent decades, pleated trousers have become an easygoing yet put-together staple that weathers the whims of the trend cycle.

Ease in a deconstructed jacket

For most men nowadays, a jacket isn’t an option when getting dressed in the summer. But a deconstructed jacket – a blazer without lining and shoulder padding – provides a sense of breathability with ease and sophistication. Mr. Armani was a big fan of the style, and he still incorporates it into his collections today.

The blueprint

Italian men unofficially brought the white T-shirt into the everyday rotation. Think of Marlon Brando or Mr. Armani here. When paired with jeans and loafers, the combination is perhaps the blueprint for how modern men dress: it’s that mix of the casual and the classic that assumes sophistication without pretension, and our go-to when all else fails.

Acqua di Gio

And no modern wardrobe is complete without a fragrance, especially if it’s Acqua di Gio. After all, it is the essence of the brand in a bottle. Launched in 1996, the thalassic and hyacinth scent of bergamot and rosemary has been a rite of passage of sorts into adulthood, and many of our first masculine scents. In the words of our social media director, “Who hasn’t dated a boy that’s worn Acqua di Gio?”


Giorgio Armani, American Gigolo and the art of red carpet dressing

Prepare for the return of huge shorts