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Giorgio Armani reveals his aromatic influences

Giorgio Armani talks to MiNDFOOD about his latest fragrance Acqua di Gioia. MiNDFOOD reports.

What does Acqua di Gioia represent for you?

For me, Acqua di Gioia conjures up the image of a strong, serene and free-spirited woman who exists in perfect harmony with nature.

What was the main influence behind creating the feminine fragrance? What inspired you to create this scent?

I was inspired by my visits to islands such as Pantelleria and Antigua, where I have for years had holiday homes. Both places represent an ideal – a place to escape to and recharge in a natural setting – you really feel the power of Mother Nature and her fresh, dynamic energy.

How is your new fragrance different from existing Giorgio Armani fragrances?

As with all new fragrances I create, I am in search of a new spirit, a new mood. “Acqua di Gioia” has a very distinctive character that is full of joyful energy and that surge of connection a woman has with nature.

How do you define the Acqua di Gioia woman among other Giorgio Armani women. Could she be several Giorgio Armani women all in one?

She is rooted to the natural, in the adventurous and strong in spirit. She is a powerful feminine archetype – in tune with the sensuality of the earth, the sky and the sea.

Why did you chose the name ‘Acqua di Gioia’ – is it related to ‘Acqua di Gio’?

No, while the names are similar, the fragrances are unrelated. Acqua di Gioia is more about the complicity between a woman and nature in all of its forms.

“Gioia / Joy” is an emotion that has very different interpretations. Philosophers have proposed many of them. Which words do you associate to Gioia? How could you define it?

For me, Gioia is a sense of happiness that uplifts and makes everything you see more vivid. Joy makes your life richer, opens your mind to the world around you, connects you to the environment, and pushes you to action and exploration. Joy makes it easier to have more confidence and be in harmony with those around you.  

Some of your last collections were very colourful and we could feel a strong energy, is it a feeling you would like to spread all over the Giorgio Armani universe?

I do feel we all need some energy and optimism in our lives at the moment. The past eighteen months has been very tough for many people because of the global economic situation, and instinctively I have responded to this with creative ideas that can perhaps be uplifting.

Which aspects of nature did you want to express in this fragrance?

I wanted it to encompass / capture nature in all its complexity – I wanted it to express nature’s vegetal, aquatic and earthly forms.

Do you feel concerned about the ecological issues? One in particular?

Yes of course, like all people in touch with the world around them I am deeply concerned with ecological issues and the way in which we are not taking good enough care of our planet. In particular, I find the whole idea of global warming and the effects that it has on the environment extremely concerning.

How would you personally describe the scent of « Acqua di Gioia »? Does it remind you any particular moments?

The scent really evokes the majesty and mystery of the natural world and how one relates to it. But this is Mother Nature put through a peculiarly Italian filter! Many moments of happiness came to mind when developing this fragrance.  Each day we live moments of happiness – not a constant state of happiness.  One revisits them through a scent, a colour, a song even.

Did you personally choose to integrate 1 or 2 ingredients in the composition of the fragrance? Which ones? Why?

I particularly wanted to find a way of creating a bracing effect – almost like the feeling you get when you throw open the shutters on a summers day, or stand at the sea shore and feel the spray on your face. This is where the crushed mint and water jasmine came in, and once I had smelt the fragrance given off by the combination of these two ingredients, I knew that they would be an important part of the scent.

From the profile the bottle looks like a drop of water. It looks very simple but the curves are technically very complicated to make. Did you have a specific image you were referring to when you designed it?

Acqua di Gioia is above all a feminine fragrance rooted in nature and in water.

I wanted to create a bottle that expressed these qualities, so I developed the idea of a drop of water, in the knowledge that curved forms are also extremely feminine. For me the bottle is as much a homage / tribute to the shape of woman, as it is to the beautiful form water makes.

If this fragrance was a landscape, a peaceful escape, what would it be?

An island in all of its variety – sea, forest and earth.

Do you travel a lot? Could you tell us which is your favourite place and why?

I do travel to many places and have many favourites. I like the stimulation I find in North Africa, the collision of old and new in Russia and China, the energy of North America, and the quirkiness of England.

What type of woman is Acqua di Gioia ideal for?

It is for all women who love to be women – strong, natural, free-spirited and unashamedly feminine.

Can you tell us who in particular you have created the new fragrance for?

I did not have one woman in mind when developing this scent, but many.  I have worked recently with some extraordinarily strong women, like Megan Fox, for my Emporio Armani underwear, and Lady Gaga, for whom I created some special outfits for the Grammys and her tour.

These and other striking women I have known throughout my life, like Sophia Loren and Cate Blanchett and Alicia Keys have always inspired me. They are very different to one another, and yet they share a feminine power that is both mysterious and alluring.  I am fascinated by women who are comfortable in their own skin, who look just as beautiful and individual in an evening dress than in a pair of jeans.

Do you have a beauty icon? Do you feel that her beauty comes from her smile or her positive spirit?

I don’t have one icon of beauty, more an ideal of femininity, a kind of archetype of a woman. She is beautiful because she combines spiritual beauty with physical beauty. But in truth, I believe that if you have beautiful spirit, you will be beautiful in every way.

Which fabrics would you associate to your fragrance?

Different fragrances are like different outfits in your wardrobe, and so each has its own “fabric”. This new fragrance is perhaps like a fresh piece of white silk that floats in the breeze and feels cool and sensual to the touch.

What is the relationship between the creation of your fragrance to your fashion? In this new fragrance, is there an inspiration that relates to your conception of fashion?

Everything I create comes from my particular aesthetic of sophisticated elegance and timeless style. So naturally there is a synergy between my fashion collections and my fragrances. I believe that Acqua di Gioia is bright and feminine and sensual in a way that my recent women’s collections have been; but above all I believe that though it is enlivening and invigorating, it is still essentially elegant.

You have such a massive portfolio between fashion and beauty.  How do you keep being inspired to create such wonderful new fragrances?

If you have a creative spirit, you cannot help yourself – the ideas just keep coming, and you have to find an outlet for them. I am so lucky that I can do this in so many fields – not just fashion and fragrance, but also in interiors, for example.

What fragrance do you wear?  Do you change your fragrance depending on mood, season, occasion etc?

I tend to wear the Bois d’Encens fragrance from Armani Privé, which is my favourite, but I do have a wardrobe of my fragrances for different occasions and different moods. I still often wear Acqua di Gio, which I find as refreshing and modern as when I first created it.

What brings you joy?

My family and friends.  Creating.

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