Yesterday morning, at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Giorgio Armani received the Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon. As Italy’s highest civilian honor, the accolade reflects both Armani’s six-decade career in the fashion industry and his status as one of the country’s leading lights across the fashion, lifestyle, and luxury sectors.
In a private ceremony at the palace, which serves as one of the three official residences of the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, the celebrated Italian designer was specifically awarded the honor for his services to fashion and the arts. “This honor holds a particular meaning for me,” Armani said following the ceremony. “It came from our President, who is not only the head of state, but also a man whose values, open-mindedness, and kindness are unquestionably high.”
Born in the Emilia-Romagna city of Piacenza in 1934, Armani founded his first company in 1975 with his partner in both business and life, architect Sergio Galeotti. The designer’s minimalist vision of relaxed luxury came to define 1990s fashion, both thanks to the signature ease he brought to his men’s tailoring and the understated glamour of his haute couture line which saw him become a red carpet fixture. In recent decades, Armani has branched out into hotels, sports, interiors, and dining. Building a newly completist vision for a 21st-century luxury brand, these ventures have not only made him a billionaire many times over but have also seen Armani become widely acclaimed as the most successful designer of Italian origin of all time.
Previous recipients of the Knight Grand Cross from the world of fashion count just two: Valentino Garavani and Miuccia Prada in 1986 and 2015, respectively. For Armani, however, receiving the prize wasn’t just about celebrating his illustrious career as a designer, but also a recognition of his life-long efforts to promote the Italian creative industries on the world stage and his efforts to give back to his beloved home country, where he has a long history of supporting charitable causes. As recently as last year, Armani donated $2.2 million to local hospitals in the fight against coronavirus, while his Giorgio Armani Foundation established in 2016 has continued the designer’s long history of supporting social causes including the fight against HIV/AIDS and child poverty.
Clearly, yesterday’s ceremony marked not only a career milestone for Armani but carried a more sentimental meaning, too. “I am proud to represent Italy and I am honored to receive this prestigious title, which the President is giving me on behalf of the whole country,” he said.
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Originally published on Vogue.com