“I'm in favour of the British staying in Europe,” the legendary Italian designer said in Milan, where a week of menswear shows wrapped up on Tuesday with the unveiling of Armani's main Spring-Summer 2017 collection.
“The island is part of Europe and I have always seen England as the avant garde part of Europe – the bit that moves, that develops, always the first to do something eccentric and to give space for art.”
Britain is a relatively minor player in Europe's fashion industry in terms of manufacturing and global sales.
But the country's vibrant music and street fashion scenes have helped to make it disproportionately influential on catwalk trends.
British designers are dotted around the top fashion houses on the continent and London fashion schools attract talent from all over the world.
A recent survey of UK-based designers by the British Fashion Council found that 90 percent wanted the country to stay in the EU, mainly because of concerns that Brexit would make it harder to export their wares and that international student numbers could fall due to tighter visa restrictions.
Vivienne Westwood, one of the innovative designers Armani perhaps had in mind, said it would be “absolutely tragic” if Britain were to leave the EU.
“I am disgusted that we might leave,” said the 75-year-old, who made her name by putting punk style on the catwalk. “I'm ashamed of what is going on in England. It is awful.”
“We fought two world wars to have cooperation and unity and now it is like every man for himself,” added Westwood.
“And somehow the English have been manipulated into thinking they'll get more money if they leave and of course they won't because the whole world is bankrupt and everything is getting worse and worse.”