Italian fashion legend Giorgio Armani hinted at succession plans on Monday, saying he was preparing for the label's future with his closest aides after showcasing his latest menswear collection.
Armani, 86, who was the first Italian fashion designer to close his shows to the public as the coronavirus pandemic struck Italy last February, was one of the few to hold live shows during the current Milan fashion week.
A select number of brands, including Moroccan label Casablanca, will also present their spring 2022 collections at Paris Men's Fashion Week, which will take place between Tuesday and Sunday.
"I love doing it here, where I started, this is my home," Armani said from the garden of his Via Borgonuovo headquarters in Milan, where he hosted the show for his spring/summer 2022 menswear collection.
Known as King Giorgio in the fashion world, Armani sent some of his models on the catwalk wearing face masks.
"We must be careful, we could easily fall back into the abyss," he said.
Armani, dressed in his usual dark blue T-shirt and matching trousers, thanked his audience at the end of the show, holding hands with his right-hand man Leo Dell'Orco.
"A large part of the collection is his doing. Leo has worked with me for 67 years, over the years he's become more mature but also more hard-headed," Armani joked.
"He's good with menswear as [Armani's niece] Silvana is with womenswear. I'm preparing my future with people close to me," the designer said.
In April, he rekindled speculation about the future of his group by mentioning the possibility of joining forces with an Italian partner in an interview with Vogue, having previously insisted Armani should remain independent.
Armani also reassured reporters about his health after rumours that he had been hospitalised.
He said he spent two weeks in hospital for breaking his arm after tripping on a step while leaving a cinema after the recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.