Giorgio Armani, the venerable designer who has staunchly defended the independence of his fashion empire for decades, is now signaling a shift in approach towards potential mergers or even an initial public offering (IPO) as part of his succession plan. As he approaches his 90th birthday, Armani is contemplating significant changes for his Italian fashion powerhouse once he steps down from his leadership role.

Having steadfastly maintained autonomy amidst the waves of mergers and acquisitions in the luxury sector, Armani now acknowledges the possibility of his firm aligning with a larger competitor or going public. "Independence from large groups could still be a driving value for the Armani Group in the future, but I don’t feel I can rule anything out. What has always characterised the success of my work is an ability to adapt to changing timesIndependence from large groups could still be a guiding principle for the Armani Group in the future, but I am open to exploring all options," Armani stated in a written interview.

This shift in stance is notable for Armani, who ascended from a Milan window dresser to establish one of the world's foremost luxury brands while retaining tight control over its operations. His future plans, a topic long shrouded in mystery due to his reluctance to discuss succession, are now a subject of industry speculation. Armani, however, emphasizes that any decisions regarding the company's future will be left to his successors.

While Armani currently does not foresee a takeover by a luxury conglomerate, he refuses to dismiss any possibilities outright, considering such a stance unbecoming of an entrepreneur. Moreover, he now entertains the notion of an eventual IPO, though such discussions have yet to take place.

Amidst this uncertainty, Italy's luxury landscape remains characterized by family-owned entities like Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Moncler, and Ermenegildo Zegna, lacking the scale of their French counterparts. Armani's cautionary note regarding the encroachment of larger luxury conglomerates underscores the delicate balance between growth opportunities and preserving brand identity.

Regarding succession, Armani envisions a scenario where a trusted group of individuals, including long-time associates and family members, would steer the company forward. He emphasizes the pivotal role of his company's foundation in shaping its future direction, underscoring the collective leadership approach over a singular successor.

Reflecting on the evolution of the fashion industry and Italy's role within it, Armani expresses optimism about the country maintaining its prominence despite changing dynamics. He underscores the Italian ethos of adaptability and craftsmanship as defining characteristics that will endure in the global luxury landscape.