The Clothes Really Do Make The Man

Giorgio Armani 2005

Giorgio Armani is on the prowl before every one of his fashion shows. There is no detail too small to escape his attention.

One moment he's personally greeting his models…this time in New York, the next, he's encouraging a hairdresser to create a look reminiscent of an 1890s Paris dancehall.

He not only comments on the make up, at times, he takes over and does it himself, notices CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Rita Braver.

And Armani, who knows some English, but feels more comfortable communicating in Italian, explains through an interpreter that he just cannot help himself.

"It's a long process, the preparation of the hair and make up and it almost seems like I really shouldn't be here sort of -- people might think it's a waste of my time," Armani says through his interpreter. "But, I need to have a presence here to sort of control what's going on in terms of hair and make up."

Armani explains that deciding which models will where certain outfits is an important process. "A lot of times a particular model is not --wouldn't be able to carry a particular outfit," he says.

It is an important point because Armani's clothes are very much about attitude.

He has developed a reputation for a supercool, yet refined look in his casual and formal wear, for both men and women.

Of course there is some irony in his own wardrobe choice. The world famous fashion designer dresses, well, plainly.

Asked why his personal preference for clothing is muted, Armani says, "I live with clothing. I speak about clothing. I dream about clothing. I go to the movies and look at clothing.

The designer then quips, "I also dress this way in dark colors to make me look taller, more interesting."

Giorgio Armani doesn't have to try to be interesting. His is a real rags-to-riches story. He was born in 1934, in Piacenza, Italy. It was a childhood ravaged by World War II.

"Our house was bombed and destroyed and my father didn't make enough money to support us. There were five of us. Looking back, I realize that we didn't even have enough to eat, just like many Italian families back then," he says.

He never dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but a temporary job in a department store made him realize he had a knack for fashion. He rose through the ranks at the store and then started working for designer Nino Cerutti.