Armani on Tour

Fashion houses send design ambassadors on the road.

By Laura Cassidy April 16, 2010 Published in the May 2010 issue of Seattle Met

Family values Roberta Armani visited Neiman Marcus at the Bravern on behalf of her uncle, Giorgio.

Image: Kari Pearson

Jacket from the spring/summer Black Label collection.

JOINING BOOK AUTHORS and bands on the open road this spring and summer: Fashion designers and big-name brand ambassadors, and Seattle is a popular stop. Jason Wu, a favorite of Michelle Obama, recently played dress-up with shoppers at Nordstrom and Mario’s, and one sunny morning in March, Roberta Armani, the public face of her uncle Giorgio’s red carpet–focused Italian fashion house, took a break from dressing Lady Gaga and hanging out with Katie Holmes to host a fashion show and luncheon at the Armani outpost inside Neiman Marcus.

“My uncle was a pioneer of democratic fashion,” said Armani, poised in the black and silver high-shine in-store shop that neighbors a Chanel boutique on the department store’s bottom floor. Here, for about $2,500, you can get outfitted in short-sleeved, sharp-shouldered blazers and loose, cropped jackets from Armani’s top-tier Black Label and Collezioni lines. Italian edge on a budget? Go for T-shirts and denim from the lower priced Armani Jeans collection at clothiers such as David Lawrence.

Jacket and scarf from the spring/summer Armani collection

But exclusivity does have its benefits. Ken Downing, the Burien-born, Dallas- and New York–based national fashion director for Neiman, says high-profile whistle-stop tours are how the store pampers the loyal and gets to know newcomers. In fact, on May 7, the iconic fashion insider is orchestrating two runway trend shows and then wandering the racks as your personal stylist and wardrobe consultant.

Go introduce yourself.

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