January 29, 2006

Armani dresses down for Turin torch

By Sophie Hardach

MILAN (Reuters) - Veteran designer Giorgio Armani
grudgingly swapped his trademark black T-shirt for a bright
orange-and-white shellsuit on Sunday, carrying the Olympic
torch through Milan's fashion district on its route to Turin.

"I certainly wouldn't have designed it with these colors.
These aren't even wintry colors. They are kind of Mexican," he
told Reuters as he waited for the torch to be lit on Via
Montenapoleone, Milan's most exclusive shopping mile.

"Winter colors would be green or blue," he added, shivering
in the cold evening air amid a crowd of well-dressed fans.

Fashionistas jostled to take photos of tanned, white-haired
Armani, who in his new outfit looked more like a skiing
instructor than one of the world's most successful designers.

The torch arrived an hour late after protests blocked its

Demonstrators have repeatedly interrupted the flame's trip
across Italy as part of a campaign against Coca-Cola, which
they accuse of turning a blind eye to workers' rights
violations at a bottling plant in Colombia. The company has
denied the allegations.

"There are always protests, whether you do something good
or bad. Even if you do something beneficial, people say you do
it because it's advertising," Armani said.

Having traveled on Venetian gondolas and a Ferrari sports
car, the torch is heading for Turin in time to signal the start
of the Winter Olympics which will run from February 10 to 26.