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Immortality on the street for Armani

Italian designer will be the first to have his name embedded in Rodeo Drive.

September 04, 2003|Booth Moore | Times staff writer

Like many Hollywood events, the inaugural "Rodeo Drive Walk of Style" awards ceremony was canceled last March after the U.S. went to war against Iraq.

But the show is back on. Tuesday, Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani will be in town to accept the award, a miniature bronze version of Robert Graham's "Torso" statue unveiled in June at Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way as the new symbol of the street.

One of the most influential designers of the 1980s and beyond, Armani, 69, is known for creating the power suit that so many in Hollywood have adopted as a uniform.

One of the first designers to understand the importance of the red carpet, he has dressed countless celebrities for awards shows, most famously Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster. Armani has also contributed looks to dozens of films, including "Made" (2001), "The Untouchables" (1987) and "American Gigolo" (1980).

On Tuesday night, the 300 block of Rodeo Drive will be closed for a show featuring highlights of the Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani fall/winter 2003 collection. Pfeiffer, Foster, Samuel L. Jackson and Harrison Ford are expected to attend. Vanity Fair will host an after-party with the rap group Outkast Djing. Invited guests include celebrities, City of Beverly Hills officials and members of the fashion industry.

A joint venture between the Rodeo Drive Committee and the City of Beverly Hills, each year the "Rodeo Drive Walk of Style" will honor a style legend -- living or dead -- with a permanent plaque, featuring quotes and the signature of the recipient, embedded in the sidewalks of Rodeo Drive. The project is part of an overhaul of the luxury shopping neighborhood expected to be completed by Thanksgiving.

"In connection with our $18-million improvement," said Beverly Hills Mayor Tom Levyn, "having Giorgio Armani participate and be the first Walk of Style honoree enhances the image of Beverly Hills as a world-class city." Knowing that Armani typically dresses in dark monotones, Levyn added, "I've got my black clothes ready to meet the king of fashion."

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