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Sloane Street meets Giorgio Armani

The renowned Italian fashion designer on what he likes about Sloane Street, and why it made the perfect location for his new concept of adjoining Giorgio Armani and Armani/Casa boutiques

The Giorgio Armani boutique

Do you remember the first time you visited Sloane Street?

I remember seeing Sloane Street for the first time and being struck by how unusual it seemed. Unusual because while it is so undoubtedly “London” with its red brick buildings with their black iron railings, and the green gardens that line one side, it is also straight and wide and grand in a way that is something I associate more readily with Milan, or Paris. This is what I like about it – that it is elegant, a London boulevard, if you like. And as Giorgio Armani is all about elegance and sophistication, it seemed the perfect place for me to locate my flagship store in the UK.

Is there a certain type of customer who shops in your Sloane Street boutique? 

Well, I had a hunch, which has been born out now through many years’ experience, that the customer here would be more local than on other shopping streets in the capital – and in many other global cities. I had no basis for thinking this, other than the observation that Sloane Street is surrounded by grand houses and apartments – indeed there are many on the street itself. I now know from my store that this is the case. While, of course, there are many tourists who visit this Giorgio Armani store, as there are frequenting all of my stores around the world, Sloane Street is unusual in that the majority of customers are local residents. This gives the store a community feeling, which I like. Although it is a thoroughly Armani destination in terms of its design and décor, there is something of London about it in its atmosphere – not least because of the view of the street outside through five huge windows, with its stream of passing red buses and black taxis.

How has your Sloane Street boutique changed over the years?

I first opened Giorgio Armani on Sloane Street back in the 1980s, and my flagship has become a fixture of the area. In 2018, I decided to reimagine it in a way that went far beyond a new look at the interior design. Because of the local clientele, I realised that this would be the perfect place to house my expanding Armani/Casa interiors collection, so that people in the area could discover my furnishings and furniture and apply it to their homes. I therefore created a new Armani/Casa store next door to the Giorgio Armani store and connected the two internally – the first time I have done such a thing, though each still has its own dedicated entrance.

Why did you choose Sloane Street to launch a new retail idea?

London is a lively, exciting city that’s continually changing; it’s the ideal laboratory for future lifestyles, and it never ceases to inspire me. This is also why I came up with this new concept for the Sloane Street space: two adjoining stores in which the client is able to live out a complete and unique experience of the Armani world. The balance between the elegant materials, exquisite finishes and warm, sophisticated atmosphere is the common thread that links the two spaces together. 

The Armani/Casa store

Who designed the new boutique concept for Sloane Street?

The combined Giorgio Armani and Armani/Casa boutiques span around 1,000 metres over three floors, and I created the new look personally with my team of Armani/Casa architects. I have an Armani/Casa Interior Design Studio that can undertake architectural work for customers as well as interior design, and this is what I use for my own stores: in Sloane Street the Design Studio has its own area dedicated to presenting projects I have undertaken with this service for private individuals and property developers alike, so anyone who wishes to learn about, or engage with the Studio, can do so.

What are the elements that you most like about the store?

There are lots of elements about my Sloane Street store, or I should really say, stores, that I like: an entrance that rises to the entire height of the building, hanging lamps with an exclusive design, marble and onyx floors, printed silk on the walls, luxurious mother-of-pearl, the gold doorways and the subtle, neutral colour palette throughout. There is a warmth and a luminous simplicity to the whole place, amplified by the wooden, metal and resin furniture that matches the colours of the walls and ceilings, and the upholstery, armchairs, rugs and lamps from the Armani/Casa collection. Perhaps the standout feature, though, is the staircase leading to the upper level that has a dynamic, ultra-lightweight structure and metal details that meld perfectly with the sophisticated, elegantly decorated interior.

What can people find at the Sloane Street store?

The Giorgio Armani store houses accessories and my men’s and women’s collections, and there is also an area dedicated to the men’s Made to Measure service. The Armani/Casa store, which can be accessed through a curved walkway from its sister boutique, offers a broad glimpse into my entire interiors range, from decorative accessories, to furniture, rugs and textiles. This space is delineated by double sheets of fine, platinum-coloured metal mesh that match the height of the walls, an impalpable element that creates subtle divisions between the various room settings. The design here of the tables and display units is dynamic yet minimal, reflecting the idea of this store as a constantly evolving project in which the material is alive and creativity runs free.

What is it about interior design that appeals to you?

Interior design has always excited me. Pure forms, exquisite craftsmanship and a taste for simplicity and discreet luxury: all of these concepts are the same as those you find in my fashion collections. The addition of Armani/Casa on Sloane Street gives me the opportunity to show the people of London a wide selection from the Armani/Casa collection. It’s a space that’s reminiscent of a studio – sophisticated, fluid and versatile – where the client is invited to discover my lifestyle philosophy.

Giorgio Armani and Armani/Casa, 37-42 Sloane Street, SW1X 9LP | 020 7235 6232

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