Back in April I was in Milan shooting the Salone for Wallpaper.
It was Saturday, the last day, and the fair was slowing down so I took a lazy walk around the Brera.
I was on Via Borgonuovo when I looked up and saw Armani walking down the street.
Actually, I saw Armani’s giant bodyguard first but Armani was about four steps in front of him.
Anyway, I stopped Armani and began to ask him, and quickly began asking the bodyguard (that guy moves quick) if I could take his photo.
He asked for a business card ,which I didn’t have on me, so he looked me over and agreed to let me take his picture.
Armani still looked a little hesitant but I have seen him in action enough backstage at his shows that I know he likes to be shot against a dark backdrop to highlight his white hair.
He began to take his one of his trademark poses but I motioned that we should move off the street and in front of a nearby building with a dark background. I motioned to his hair and said something like “bene constrasto” (not to be confused with “bene castrato”). This instantly won a few big points with him and he was very patient while I got a couple of shots.
Funny thing, one of the reasons Armani has built such an incredible empire is he is very careful with every aspect of his image. For example, when you take a photo of Armani he will not look up at the camera until he has set his pose and checked every element of his look. You cannot take a picture of him until he is ready.
As a photographer this is a pain but it is a perfect example of how he continues to worry about every little aspect – I have tremendous respect for that. The guy is in his 70′s and is still sweating all the little details.