Armani deal with Italian Olympic team extended to 2016
Designer praised as promoting 'winning image' of national sports30 October, 18:28
The Italian Olympic Committee announced the extension of Armani's contract to 2016 on Wednesday, 100 days before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"Armani is simply the best calling card we could hope to have in order to promote the winning image of Italian sport," said Giovanni Malago', chief of Italy's national Olympic committee (CONI).
At the same time, it was announced that the official outfits of Italy's Olympic teams in Sochi, straight from the Armani EA7 line, will be available to retail customers in men's and women's sizes at the same time they are released to the athletes.
Armani, who was the first top couture designer asked to create an Olympic wardrobe, said he hoped to continue his work of combining Italian style with the positive values of sports. "Italy is built on the country's passion for sport, a pastime that promotes positive values and brings people together," said the designer, 76, who initially landed the Olympic gig a year ahead of last year's London Games. For the London event, Armani's fashion house provided a 50-piece wardrobe for every member of the Italy Olympic team. "I am extremely pleased to renew my collaboration with CONI for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the Olympic Games in 2016, two important occasions for our athletes, who will have our utmost support".
Armani Group will provide the entire sports kit and formal wardrobe for Italy's Olympic and Paralympic teams, and fully outfit the youth teams for both winter and summer Youth Olympic Games and the European Youth Olympic Festivals over the three years. His designs for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be another high-profile opportunity for the fashion label that is already a popular choice among Hollywood celebrities and high-profile athletes.
Soccer stars David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis champion Rafael Nadal are featured in the company's advertising campaigns.
Armani Group, one of the world's leading fashion and lifestyle design houses, has a network of 500 retail stores in 46 countries worldwide and more than 6,500 employees.
Giorio Armani is himself said to be a sports fan, and a decade ago designed off-field suits for the English national football team. The Armani-designed track suit for the 2012 Olympics in London carried a practical feature - the lyrics to the Italian national anthem stitched into the cloth - as well as a stylized image of the Colosseum.
Italian teams, especially the soccer squad, had previously been chided for mouthing the words to the anthem, and many Italians admit to not learning the lyrics, which are not compulsory in school curriculums.
The innovative feature will be repeated in the garments for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, with the anthem's first verse printed in gold in a handwritten-text style on the left-hand side of jackets and sweatshirts, covering the heart.
Garments will bear the CONI logo and Olympic rings on the chest, while on the back they feature the original silver ITALY logo, with the letters in the form of mountains.
Leisurewear for the athletes includes cotton sweatshirts, tracksuits, long- and short-sleeved polo shirts, and T-shirts. A range of accessories completes the collection: ski hat, scarf, gloves, glasses and backpack, all in navy blue with Italian tricolour details.