It"s tough being me! Billionaire Italian designer Giorgio Armani says he"s sacrificed his life for fashion

It's tough being me! Billionaire Italian designer Giorgio Armani says he has sacrificed his life for fashion

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UPDATED:

14:07 GMT, 3 August 2012

Tough at the top: Italian designer Giorgio Armani says he's sacrificed his life for fashion

Tough at the top: Italian designer Giorgio Armani says he's sacrificed his life for fashion

He may be one of the most renowned designers in the world, but Giorgio Armani says that his success has come at a high price.

In a new interview with Elle UK, the 78-year-old Italian, who has been in the industry for 30 years, says he has given his life to fashion and has missed out on the simple things that others take for granted.

‘Life, I have sacrificed life,’ he laments. ‘The life of a young man when I first started out and the life of a grown man at the age I am now.

'It is even more so now. Even harder,
which is very sad because life is all about friendships, discovering
people’s personalities, falling in love, not just once or twice, but
often.’

Mr
Armani, who has an estimated personal fortune of $7 billion, explains
that he feels like he barely knows Milan, despite having lived there
since 1957.

‘People tell me of Milan,’ he says.

And the silver-haired mogul, who spent two years in medical school before deciding to pursue a career in fashion, also lashed out at fellow
Italian designers like Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and Dolce &
Gabbana in the interview, describing them as ‘burlesque’.

‘These
designers have no reserve,’ he says. ‘They’ve chosen a path and thrown
themselves onto it head first, regardless of everything.

‘Whether or not their designs are sellable or vulgar. As long as it’s new and people talk about it. That is the truth.’

Mr Armani says he has a ‘completely different approach’ to fashion, and strives for consistency rather than constantly pushing the envelope.

World-renowned: The fashion mogul with singer Beyonce

World-renowned: The fashion mogul with singer Beyonce

And despite being two years shy of his 80th birthday, he insists he has no plans to retire any time soon.

‘My work today is perceived as being classic, but when I first started out it was a break from the norm,’ he says. ‘Since then I have continued to reinvent myself. I don’t change my style, but I allow it to evolve.’

Dresses by Giorgio Armani are hugely popular on the red carpet, with everyone from Angelina Jolie, Adele, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway and Penelope Cruz donning his designs.

Rihanna

Anne Hathaway

Penelope Cruz

Red carpet favourite: Rihanna (far left) wears a black Giorgio Armani dress to the 2012 Grammys, Anne Hathaway in Giorgio Armani Prive and Penelope Cruz in a black lace Giorgio Armani Prive gown (right)

However when it comes to his own celebrity status, Mr Armani says he sees himself as a ‘lucky man’ rather than an icon.

‘I absolutely do not feel like an icon,’ he adds. ‘I am aware that I have achieved a certain resonance in the world and that I have done something significant and made people talk about me…I think I have been a very lucky man.'

He also explains why he chooses not to rarely use supermodels in his catwalk shows, saying he wants the focus to be on the clothes.

Jessica Chastain

Zoe Saldana

Adele

Celebrity fans: The Help star Jessica Chastain in a strapless white Giorgio Armani gown (left), Zoe Saldana in a tangerine Giorgio Armani fall 2012 dress and Adele in a custom made Giorgio Armani gown (right)

‘During a fashion show, I want the clothes to speak,’ he says. ‘The effort I put into my work must be respected.

'Far from the catwalks, however, it is personality that must come to the fore, as well as the capacity to interpret a dress – a brain is more important than a body.'

Read Giorgio Armani's full interview in the September issue of Elle UK, on sale now.