40 years of Armani at sea
by Zoe Dickens
As Giorgio Armani celebrates 40 years at the frontier of Italian fashion, we look back at four decades of nautical fashion, parties and the inspiration that came from one incredible superyacht.
Armani bought his 65 metre Codecasa Main in 2008. Designed outside and in by Armani himself, with its angular lines and unusual dark green finish, the superyacht cuts a striking military-style figure next to its gleaming white Mediterranean neighbours. The six guest cabins, two saloons for formal and casual events, spiral staircase, lift, Jacuzzi, gym, cinema and sundeck, are all kitted out in Armani’s signature muted palette.
Known for meticulous attention to detail in his profession, Armani's luxury yacht also runs like clockwork. The crew, who make three bespoke Armani outfit changes a day, work to carefully pre-planned routes which can be followed without disturbing the yacht’s guests and a chef and personal trainer are constantly on hand.
Although used as his primary yacht, Main Armani actually owns two superyachts. His first, a 50 metre Codecasa named Mariu after his mother, was launched in 2003. With a charcoal grey exterior and bespoke interiors designed shortly after the launch of the Armani/Casa homeware range, this too was a reaction to the excess of white, marble and crystal Armani had taken a dislike to on chartered yachts.
How the sea inspires Armani's clothes
It may come as no surprise that a designer who happily admits to falling in love with the sea aged 4, has a way with the blues. Simply head to your nearest Emporio Armani store for evidence. The spring/summer 2015 collection used the shade almost exclusively, interspersing preppy athletic separates with bold Breton stripes and fluid metallic fabrics evocative of sun dappled oceans.
Of course, Armani has never been discreet about the inspiration he finds at sea. Who can forget the spring/summer 2002 Emporio Armani collection – one so overt in its nautical references it saw models take to the catwalk in bellbottoms and sailing caps. Or the Giorgio Armani spring/summer 2004 show, which saw both men’s and women’s nautical stripes taken to a new level with shimmering crab, starfish and lobster embellishments.
With seven lines to his name, spanning everything from haute couture gowns and bespoke suiting to denim, activewear and children’s clothing, coupled with the perennially chic nature of naval-inspired clothing; whoever the wearer and whatever the occasion, Armani will always be a go to name for yacht appropriate fashion.
The superyacht parties
Unlike other more lavish fashion designer superyacht owners, such as Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani does not often use Main as a party venue. Instead, in his classically chic style, the designer prefers small gatherings and entertaining on a one-to-one basis, with those lucky enough to receive an invite including actress Naomi Watts, model Eugenia Silvia and Victoria’s Secret Angel Bar Rafaeli.
The one exception to this was a 100-person bash hosted by the designer in Cannes in 2010 - a rare follow-up to the parties more frequently held aboard Mariu to celebrate the annual film festival. Guests at the star-studded event honouring that year’s hot ticket Fair Game included Carine Roitfeld, Benicio del Toro, Emily Blunt and fellow superyacht owner Paul Allen. Far from a raucous all-nighter, it is said that the natural order of Armani’s tightly-run ship was restored by the stroke of midnight.
Don’t forget to pick up the May 2015 issue of Boat International for our exclusive interview with Giorgio Armani and keep up to date with the brand's 40th anniversary celebrations at atribute.armani.com.