Armani/Silos and the 40 years of Emporio Armani

Armani/Silos is an exhibition space located in the heart of Milan’s Design District, in Via Bergognone 40, showcasing Giorgio Armani’s style and aesthetic philosophy. Opened in 2015 to celebrate 40 years of the designer’s creative work, it was built on what was originally the granary of a major international company. Giorgio Armani fittingly chose to name it Silos (a storage container). “I decided to call it silos because this building used to store food, which is, of course, essential for life. For me, just as much as food, clothes are also a part of life”, he explained. The building, constructed in 1950, is spread over four levels and measures around 4,500 square meters.

In addition to its permanent collection, the space holds a series of temporary exhibitions each year. These exhibitions generally last a couple of months. The first one, entitled “Emotions of the Athletic Body”, was inaugurated in September 2016 shortly after the Olympic Games in Rio ended and during Milan Fashion Week. Its objective was to spotlight not only aesthetics, but also the values associated with sports, such as dedication, sacrifice, and team spirit. The following year, in 2017, Armani/Silos collaborated with the “MIA Photo Fair” by hosting an exhibition dedicated to American photographer Larry Fink. In later years, given the success of previous exhibitions, Armani/Silos went on to display the works of photographers Paolo Ventura, Sarah Moon, Charles Fréger and Peter Lindbergh as well as those of Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

The permanent collection, first presented in 2015, included over 600 looks and 200 accessories from the 1980s to present and was divided into the following themes: Stars, Daywear, Exoticism, Colour Schemes, and Light. In 2018, Giorgio Armani personally oversaw the rearranging of the permanent collection, opting for three narratives that best trace his creative path: Androgynous, Ethnicities and Stars. Deciding what to show and how, focusing on the themes that best represent Armani’s way of thinking and style — all this has helped him look back on his 40-year career in an enthusiastic yet measured way. Because fashion, and especially its roots, which seem to want to live in an eternal present, need to be reflected on. Through this reflection, it is clear to see how fashion companies often anticipate important social changes. Remembering what was in the past can help shed light on what might be in the future.

Armani/Silos was born with two goals in mind. First and foremost, to safeguard, preserve and enhance Giorgio Armani’s creative heritage. Secondly, to promote public understanding and interest in all aspects of fashion and design, but also to explore the relationships and connection between history, fashion, art, cinema, and photography.

Together with the permanent and temporary exhibitions, Armani/Silos also features an area exclusively dedicated to the world of cinema. With its Film Series, the space aims to delve into the close relationship between fashion and film. The first Film Series focused on iconic movies such as “American Gigolo”, which featured costumes designed by Giorgio Armani. The selection of films depended largely on the subject of the exhibitions on show.

Besides its exhibitions, Armani/Silos also offers other services and important initiatives. The Digital Archive, for example, is a laboratory with a dedicated area located inside the building where visitors can consult Giorgio Armani’s own archive. It provides an inexhaustible source of ideas with the possibility of retracing all the phases of the designer’s work process. The archive is accessible through workstations, touchscreen tables and a large screen projection area and comprises almost 1000 outfits classified according to their season and collection.

Armani/Silos also began a fruitful collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano’s Design and Architecture School to encourage and support young students in their learning, through special classes and visits. The initiative was extended to other international schools, such as the FIT-Fashion Institute of Technology in America and GD Goenka in India. In 2017, Armani/Silos also launched

Armani/Laboratorio, an intensive workshop intended for young, aspiring cinema professionals to work side-by-side with industry established mentors in the fields of directing, screenplay, costume design, and more. This project was meant to convey knowledge, develop the next generation, and empower promising young filmmaking students.

Lastly, Armani/Silos also collaborates with the Municipality of Milan by participating in “Museo City” and “Photo Week” every year, two events sponsored by Milan’s Department of Culture that involve all major public and private museums within the city.
Emporio Armani’s 40th anniversary

In 1981, just over 40 years ago, Giorgio Armani decided to launch his brand of sophisticated yet wearable fashion for everyday people and situations, especially the newer generations. His success came immediately and was relevant to many: contemporary, urban clothing accessible to all and stylish streetwear mixed with elegant elements — practical and affordable. The strength behind the Emporio Armani brand is that it gave the younger generation a way to discover designer fashion and gain an appreciation for it.

A fashion show, an exhibition, and a special issue of its dedicated magazine: this is how Giorgio Armani chose to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Emporio Armani in Milan, on September 23rd, during Milan Fashion Week. The Emporio Armani men’s and women’s spring/summer 2022 fashion show held at the Armani/Teatro marked the brand’s return to a physical show in the presence of an audience after the Covid-19 pandemic. “The Way We Are” uncovered the essence of Emporio Armani and encompassed four decades of Emporio Armani’s history, expressed in the form of clothes, images and films, that also retraced the brand’s philosophy and spirit.

Milan was prepared for the event with customized buses and trolley stops scattered throughout the city, including the Garibaldi and Centrale train stations and some spaces within Malpensa airport. Giorgio Armani personally curated the Armani/Silos Exhibition creating a unique experience that captures four decades of a transversal brand, non-nostalgically but proudly. The exhibition is a true manifesto, to be fully lived and experienced.

For the opening of the exhibition, a special issue of Emporio Armani Magazine was published and edited, like previous issues, by Rosanna Armani.
The manifesto reads “An EMPORIO knows no bounds, of time nor space. It is clear by its etymology. An EMPORIO is a container, an encyclopedia, an algorithm. An EMPORIO contains everything, for everyone, at all times. An EMPORIO is a treasury of opportunities, an evolution of identity. An EMPORIO is as much a place as it is a way of being: curious, adventurous, daring, fluid. An EMPORIO is travel, accumulation, experience. An EMPORIO aggregates, fuses, unites. An EMPORIO brings the exotic to the city, and the city elsewhere. It defines places, it enriches languages. An EMPORIO is somewhere else, here. It is Milan, there. An EMPORIO is a collection of stories, of objects, and people. An EMPORIO is for everyone, whatever they need and however they need it. An EMPORIO changes, it evolves, it never stays the same. Everything changes but the spirit remains. An EMPORIO has no schemes. EMPORIO ARMANI is all this, under the symbol of the eagle. It is here, now, in this moment, today, in every way and in everything. It is always, everywhere, anyways. All the same because each is different. It is me, you, us, everyone. Free. It is tangible, it is imaginary. It is EA”.

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