Giorgio Armani's Power Suits

Gia Carangi in a Giorgio Armani Spring/Summer campaign from 1980, photographed by Aldo Fallai
18 April 2016

High demand 
During the 1970's women were entering the workplace in large numbers, with this there came a huge demand for a new kind of 'power dressing'. They wanted an alternative to the dark-grey suit and blouse with floppy ties which women often wore at the office at the time. That's when the power suit began to pop up.

Loose and informal
Giorgio Armani founded his label in 1975, it was then when he introduced an unlined and unconstructed man's jacket. The jacket was loose, informal and comfortable. The Armani suit generally consisted of three pieces: a fully-lined, three-button blazer with padded shoulders; a matching vest; and single-pleated trousers that were lined only in front, down to the knees. A new way of tailoring was born. 

Power dressing was born 
Three months later Giorgio Armani's sister pushed him to design a women suit. And so he did, he introduced a destructured women's suit with highly refined menswear fabrics. With broad padded shoulders, refined fabric and widened lapels the suit was a combination of power and sensuality. 


Symbol of an international economic boom 
In the 1980s, the suits designed by Armani came to symbolize an era of international economic boom. His suits projected authority and self-confidenceand became the 'power suit'. A name given to suits that portrayed power and the ambition, of the wearer. In 1982, Armani became the first fashion designer to appear on the cover of Time magazine since Christian Dior in the 1940s. The power suit became really popular, many Wall Street stockbrokers and Hollywood agents favored the Armani suits. Dark or neutral-colored jackets and pantsuits became standard attire for women in the workplace.

Power dressing never left 
Ever since its introduction the power suit has stayed an important aspect of the brand. When the broad shoulders of the 80's went out of style, Armani reintroduced the power suit with slimmer sleeves, more flattening lines and more feminine shoulers. In 1994 Vogue named the Armani jacket one of the ‘four classic must-haves for every woman’ alongside the Chanel suit, the Hermès Kelly bag and a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps.