Giorgio Armani can dish it, but he just can’t take it. The Italian designer wrote a full newspaper editorial defending himself against Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle, who criticized Armani last week for calling Prada‘s public listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange a dumb idea.
Women’s Wear Daily reports Armani was sufficiently aggravated by the slight (it includes the words “sprightly old man”) to write a three-quarter page memo to Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s biggest newspapers, contending that no matter what anyone says about the matter, private ownership is the best way for fashion companies to do business:
“I don’t need alliances, complicity, or need to surround myself with international jetsetters,” he wrote. “I have too much respect for myself, for the public, and for the people that work both with me and the fashion industry to renounce any sort of intellectual honesty that influences and orients my life, even at the expense of attractive economic opportunities … I don’t need any of the money from the stock exchange — not for growth, not for globalization, not to aggregate my brand.”
Ouch. At the end of men’s fashion week in Milan last month, Armani told reporters that the only reason Prada had to go public was to raise money to pay off its debts. He told a group of reporters that there are a lot of ways to make money in fashion, but he didn’t want “to knock on the door of some Thai managers to explain myself.”
On a break from saving the Colosseum, Della Valle told a packed house at a luxury goods conference that Armani’s attack “didn’t make any sense.”
Rather than criticizing Prada’s strategies, Armani should do the same thing, invest in the territory, as I did in Rome, contributing to the restoration of the Colosseum. In a moment of crisis, it’s important to be part of a team, and it’s our duty to give a signal, not waste time in useless attacks.
We’d argue that the only crisis on hand for either of these very wealthy Italian fashion influencers is the need for more engaging press coverage. And if collaborating with Lady Gaga or trying to single-handedly save the archeological gems of your country aren’t enough to make that happen, what better method than a full-on press war?