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SFlashback: Alan Malouf and Armani, 1980

BY Damion Matthews - February 3, 2009


Alan Malouf
Giorgio Armani, Robert Mapplethorpe

Alan Malouf in Giorgio Armani, approx. 1980 – Model in Giorgio Armani, 1980. Photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe

People tend to forget that Giorgio Armani began his career exclusively as a designer of menswear, and that his early breakthrough as a designer was in the way he loosened up the man’s suit. Fashion historians place his most creative period in the late ’70s to mid ’80s, and if you ever wonder why, just watch “American Gigolo,” which is essentially a two-hour Armani commercial (starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton at the height of their beauty.)

It was at this time that Alan Malouf, then a very young member of the San Francisco Bachelors, walked into Union Square’s I. Magnin (now the site of Louis Vuitton and Macy’s), and bought the Armani tuxedo you see here.

 alanmalouf80s

“I was so proud of it, that I had my sister take this picture in my parent’s house,” Alan tells us.

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And indeed he should have been proud — nothing could have been more fashionable and sexy at the time than an Armani suit worn on an athletic, masculine body. “New York” magazine certainly thought so. In their August 11, 1980 issue, they had Robert Mapplethorope photograph one of them on a manly sort of guy for an article praising “Armani’s Bold New Look.”

SFlashback: Alan Malouf and Armani, 1980, People tend to forget that Giorgio Armani began his career exclusively as a designer of menswear, and that his early breakthrough as a designer was in the way he loosened up the man's suit.

“Armani calls his new look for fall ‘rigorous dressing with a snap to it,'” according to the magazine’s John Duka. “The tuxedo jacket has been cut at the waist, creating a new shape that Armani balances with a long, white cotton-pique vest,” he wrote.

When a reader wrote in later to inform the magazine that “white tie is not worn with tuxedo ever — and that Armani’s bold new look is just a run-of-the-mill, rather ill-fitting white tie and tails,” John Duka responded that “The model was not wearing tails. He was wearing a short tuxedo jacket, not unlike a bolero. Armani has audaciously combined white tie with tuxedo. That’s part of his bold new look.”

As you can see, Alan Malouf’s tuxedo was of more traditional design, and quite frankly could be worn today with as much panache as it was in the ’80s.

The mustache… well, that’s another matter.



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