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BY DESIGN : SHOPPERS' SPECIAL : Deconstructing the Labels That Are Armani

October 20, 1994|MAUREEN SAJBEL | SPEICAL TO THE TIMES

Every Hollywood agent, Century City lawyer and Beverly Hills investment banker knows the difference between Italian designer Giorgio Armani's black label and his white label, right? But exactly where do Mani, Emporio and A/X fit in? Here are the crib notes for Armani 101.

Label: GIORGIO ARMANI/A MILANO BORGONUOVO 21

Frequently referred to simply as "black label," it's Armani's premier collection for men and women, the one seen on runways and wrapped around celebrities on Oscar night. ( Milano Borgonuovo 21 is taken from Armani's address.) The line is suits, separates, dresses and coats breathtakingly tailored in the most exquisite fabrics. Available at the Giorgio Armani boutique in Beverly Hills as well as Neiman Marcus and I. Magnin (women's wear only), Maxfield (menswear only) and Barneys New York (men's and women's). Cost: An average of $2,000 for a man's suit.

Label: GIORGIO ARMANI/LE COLLEZIONI

Usually called "white label," it's the secondary, or diffusion, line of well-tailored clothing, sportswear, coats and accessories for men and women. Widely available in most fine department stores and high-caliber specialty stores, including Charles Gallay (women's wear only) in Sunset Plaza and Ron Ross (men's and women's) in Studio City. A man's suit averages $1,200.

Label: MANI

A line of professional clothes for men only, with that sleek Armani style but less of a fashion voice. Jackets, suits, trousers and coats can be found hanging with fine business suits in most upscale department stores and in finer men's shops, such as the Bullock's Men's Store in the Beverly Center. A suit runs about $800.

Label: EMPORIO ARMANI

Armani shows just two lines on his runway--the black label and this one, which includes everything from tuxes to bathing suits. It's his idea of what young urban clothes should be. Besides evening wear, suits, sportswear, swimwear and sunglasses, you'll see home accessories, toiletries and stationery carrying this label. Available at Emporio Armani in Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa. Suits start at less than $600.

Label: ARMANI JEANS

This is the label stitched into everything in the A/X Armani Exchange shop, the designer's answer to the Gap. Weekend basics in denim, knits, flannel. Jeans start at $48, shirts and sweaters run up to $100, and jackets top out at about $250 at the stores in Sunset Plaza, Santa Monica and Pasadena.

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