“There is so much talk about women being raped, but women today are regularly ‘raped’ by designers,” Armani, 85, told Women’s Wear Daily on Friday at his Emporio Armani show during Milan Fashion Week.
“I am thinking of certain ads where women are shown in a provocative way, half-naked; and many women feel pressured into looking like that.That for me is rape. It’s unbefitting."
The Italian fashion designer added, “Look around, they think that by wearing black leggings and a bomber they become modern. Excuse my outburst and the strong words, but I felt like I had to say this.”
Armani also had strong feelings about fashion journalists and their focus on “trends.”
"I am tired of hearing about trends. They are nothing. I want to improve the woman who lives now. There’s all this musing about the past as a trend, but I don’t agree with it at all,” he said.
“Write about what [Alessandro] Michele did at Gucci, what Miuccia Prada did at Prada and what I am doing, but let’s not play this game. You should get to the bottom of it, what is the thinking behind what we do.
“Stop being dominated by raving about the '90s [as an example]. I am at a moment when I can say what I think,” he added.
The designer was met with criticism online for his colorful language.
“The exploitation of women in fashion imagery is not a new phenomenon, far from it. And I do think Armani has tried always to be respectful of women in his work. But the word 'rape' is very charged, in any language,” WWD West Coast Executive Editor Booth Moore tweeted Friday.
Fashion editor Tyler McCall tweeted: “I would love to chalk this one up to an age/language/culture barrier but uhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHH.”
“Not the cleverest thing to say!!” a Twitter user wrote.