By Rebecca Bundhun

On a bright autumn day in Milan last month, Giorgio Armani spent hours walking around a hotel, meticulously inspecting every last detail.

Illustration by Chris Burke for The National
Illustration by Chris Burke for The National

Having designed the property himself, just as he would normally ensure that the stitching, the cut, and the quality of one of the suits he had created met his exacting standards, it was crucial that this hotel, set to open the next day, was perfect.

“I feel very involved because Milan is my city,” Mr Armani explained.

Dressed in a fitted black suit, the 77-year-old, who sports a glowing tan accentuated by his white hair and blue eyes, remained intensely focused, but calm and unfazed throughout the day, even as an array of celebrities, including Jessica Alba, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the footballer Alexandre Pato, and other socialites, arrived at the hotel for the opening bash.

A very private person, the designer seems unaffected and even puzzled by his fame, although for years now he has been one of the most popular names in fashion and the designer of choice for many of the biggest Hollywood actors, music starsand models.

In Milan, “people actually stop me in the street just to say ‘hello’,” he says humbly. “I’m very much loved here and well-known.”

The hotel, located in Milan’s fashion district and housed in a building dating back to the 1930s, was the second property to launch under the Armani brand, as part of a joint venture with Dubai’s Emaar Properties. The first Armani hotel opened last year in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai. But Mr Armani says he feels much more of an “emotional” connection with the Milan property. More info