1. Giorgio Armani
Estimated Net Worth: $8.5 Billion
As you would expect, no celebrities can compete with the wealth of the world’s richest fashion designers. Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer, particularly noted for his menswear. He is known for his clean, tailored lines. Giorgio formed his company, Armani, in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful designer to come out of Italy, with an annual turnover of $1.6 billion and a personal fortune of $7 billion by 2011. As of 2009, Armani has a retail network of 60 Giorgio Armani boutiques, 11 Collezioni, 122 Emporio Armani, 94 A/X Armani exchange, 13 Armani Junior, and 1 Giorgio Armani Accessori spread over 37 different countries.
Giorgio Armani has a keen interest in sports. He is the president of the Olimpia Milano basketball team, an Inter Milan fan, and has twice designed suits for the England national football team. He has been chosen to design Italy’s Olympic uniforms for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Armani designed made-to-measure suits for Christian Bale’s character Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. In the world of fashion, some other wealthy designers include Ralph Lauren (6.1 billion), Valentino Garavani ($1.5 Billion), Miuccia Prada ($1.4 billion), Max Azria ($1.2 billion), Diane Von Furstenberg ($1.2 billion), Pierre Cardin ($723 million) , Calvin Klein ($700 million), Roberto Cavalli ($500 million), and Donna Karan ($400 million).
Armani was the first designer to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) below 18. This was done after model Ana Carolina Reston starved herself to death due to anorexia nervosa.
Bonus Rich Celebrity
Estimated Net Worth: $5.8 Billion
Wu Yajun is the richest self-made woman in the world. She is a former journalist who graduated from Northwestern Polytechnic University (China) in 1984 with a degree in engineering. Wu Yajun then used her business skills to develop Longfor Properties, which is one of the largest real estate companies in the world. Longfor Properties is a commercial and B-residential property developer headquartered in Beijing. Wu Yajun’s real estate enterprise has been growing rapidly over the last seventeen years, expanding from her home in Chongqing to include major cities like Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Changzhou, and Dalian.
Wu Yajun has an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion and is a member of the National People’s Congress. In 2010, shares in Wu’s Hong Kong-listed real estate developer Longfor Properties rose by a quarter from a year earlier. Contract sales for 2010 soared 81% to $5 billion. In the last couple years, Longfor Properties has been expanding its business to relatively profitable markets in first-tier cites. The company’s outlook for future growth is good. Wu Yajun is married to a man named Cai Kui and the two share the massive fortune.
In 2011, Wu’s Longfor Properties was cited for concerns over accounting practices. Shares in the company subsequently took a tumble and were hit again when the company decided to cancel a planned share sale in July. Longfor announced in August that Wu Yajun would step down as CEO but stay on as chairman.