The Italian Almanac

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matador by Armani

Matador

Italian animal rights activists protested against Giorgio Armani's support for bullfighting after the fashion icon designed a special outfit for a Spanish matador. The 100% Animalisti group attached three large posters to the walls of the Emporio Armani megastore in Milan during the night informing customers of Armani's decision to dress Cayetano Rivera Ordonez for the historic Goyesca de Ronda bullfight in southern Spain on September 6.

The posters were quickly removed by Armani staff. ''Giorgio Armani's decision is particularly despicable in the light of the fact that he is currently appearing in a publicity campaign against animal abandonment in which he declares his love of animals,'' 100% Animalisti said. Armani can currently be seen on Italian television alongside other celebrities in an ad for the I Love Animals charity urging Italians not to ditch unwanted pets by the roadside as they set off on their summer holidays.

Armani has designed a flowing outfit bordered with his trademark grey for Ordonez, 31, who comes from a long line of legendary bullfighters. The rivalry between Ordonez' grandfather, Antonio, and Antonio's brother-in-law Luis Miguel Dominguin, was chronicled by Ernest Hemingway in The Dangerous Summer, while Cayetano's famous father Paquirri died after being gored by a bull during a fight in 1984.

Armani has long held a soft spot for Cayetano, who appears in his custom-made Armani suits along with Italian screen heart-throb Raoul Bova. ''Cayetano has that quiet, sophisticated elegance. You immediately sense a man who combines great strength and poise with humility and sensitivity,'' Armani told Men's Vogue.

The Ordonez family has a history of appearing in the bullring in specially designed clothes: Cayetano's grandfather Antonio once fought in a cloak designed by Pablo Picasso.