MILAN — Diego Della Valle was quick to respond to Giorgio Armani’s words on Monday about the restoration of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco. 

“I am surprised and displeased by Armani’s behavior. I only said that it would be a beautiful thing if a monument that is a symbol for Milan and for Italy were restored with the contribution of Armani,” said Della Valle, chairman and chief executive of Tod’s group, adding that his comments were “certainly not an order, nor — even less — an invasion into his privacy. To have considered him a possible protagonist of a deed so important and deserving is surely not an offense, but rather an appreciation. My personal opinion is that, in light of the difficulties that our country faces, those that have the possibility, today more than ever, should put themselves at the disposal of the community and of those that most need it, with gestures and significant facts.”

This story first appeared in the September 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Armani had shot back at Della Valle, who over the weekend urged the designer to help support the restoration of Italian historic sites, such as Milan’s Castello Sforzesco.

“To polemize on  such a serious and clear  subject  seems to be a huge nonsense and I don’t understand its utility. People like us should avoid fueling other polemics in a country that is already full of them. I have no comment on other assertions made by Armani with lightness and ignorance of the subject. As for lamenting the fact that he has in the past been defined by me as a ‘sprightly old man,’ I repeat, as I said at the time, that to see someone, aged around 80, that wears a short-sleeved T-shirt in winter, makes me think that he must surely be sprightly, and it is certainly not an offense. Perhaps I am influenced by the memory of my grandfather, who at the age of Armani, stayed home in front of a fireplace with a blanket on his legs and a thick wool sweater.”

Armani on Monday took issue with Della Valle’s definition, coined two years ago, when the entrepreneur first urged the designer to support the restoration of the historic castle, following his own example of sponsorship on works on the Colosseum.  Armani said he regularly supports sponsorships “silently” and with his “own money,” not that of the company’s shareholders.

Della Valle added, “Anyway, I hope that this ridiculous story will stop here; in Italy today there are much more serious things to tackle with urgency to which we should dedicate all our attention and our effort and I believe that people such as Armani, me and other entrepreneurs can do a lot, and do it right away. Let’s get down to it.”

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