>> Yves Saint Laurent may have passed and Valentino retired, but of that generation of design masters, Giorgio Armani joins Karl Lagerfeld in the not-going-anywhere category.
On Friday, the 74-year-old designer told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore he doesn't have a contigency plan in place because he still makes all the decisions: "I have never posed myself the problem, looking at the pros and cons . . . I have not picked my 'heir'. Touch wood, we're not talking about it [but] an organization that is so precise could easily survive me."
If the takeover ever does happen, Armani acknowledges that it will have to be a clean cut: "It is painful but you need to have the courage that — once it is done — not to have any claims over it. In the case of reaching a certain age or the market needing a radical change in style, it is extremely difficult for someone who created a company to detach themselves from it."
The full detachment is necessary, Armani says, because it's hard enough as is for a designer to take over from an "untouchable icon" of fashion: "The founder is linked to the brand and represents its style. When it comes to replacing the founder there is always a doubt as to whether to change the style. The young designers have all the talent that is needed but in a system made up of only 'untouchable icons' that cut off all oxygen, you can also die."
Sounds like he doesn't want what happened with Alessandra Facchinetti at Valentino to happen at Armani.