The title is one of the highest recognitions bestowed by the president of the Italian Republic, currently Sergio Mattarella.
Hosted at the Roman Palazzo del Quirinale, the 16th-century residence of Italy’s president, this year’s ceremony gathered both the 2020 and 2021 honorees, since the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
“Being named Cavaliere del Lavoro is a great honor. When I first got the news, in addition to the deep joy felt for the recognition of my work, my thoughts immediately went to my father and my mother, who created all this,” Ferragamo said.
“Thanks to their values and undisputed sacrifices, they gave me and our family a great opportunity and the chance to continue to carry forward over the years their history and their experiences that have enabled the company to achieve important goals. Their dream has become [the one] of all of us,” he continued, adding that his thoughts also went to all the people “who in recent years have worked and work for the company and who have enabled us to continue our path of growth and global affirmation with their skills, their professionalism, teamwork and devotion to the brand.”
In addition to Ferragamo, the class of 2020 included Guido Damiani, president of the namesake jewelry company; Silvia Stein, president of Italian knitwear company Maglificio Miles SpA, which manufactures for high-end fashion brand including Valentino, Bottega Veneta and Lanvin, and Giuseppe Maiello, founder and executive vice president of Gargiulo & Maiello SpA, a Napoli-based company distributing personal care and beauty products founded in 1968.
Grandson of the late legendary Gianni Agnelli, Elkann is the chairman and chief executive officer of Exor, one of Europe’s largest diversified holding companies. Its portfolio includes Stellantis, the company born from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automotive group PSA; Ferrari; football team Juventus F.C., and Italian media conglomerate GEDI Gruppo Editoriale.
As reported, earlier this year, the Agnelli family holding also invested 541 million euros to become a 24 percent shareholder in Christian Louboutin. The deal followed Exor’s investment at the end of 2020 in Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia to become the company’s majority shareholder alongside Hermès International and founder Jiang Qiong Er.
In addition to Elkann, 2021 honorees also included Renato Ancorotti, president of the Ancorotti Cosmetics beauty manufacturer he founded with his daughter Enrica in 2009. Since 2018, Ancorotti has been also serving as president of Cosmetica Italia, the Italian association of cosmetics companies.
“To the Cavalieri of 2020 and 2021, I renew my congratulations…the success of their businesses and the excellence achieved are an element of great importance for the country, because the strength they give to the economy and to the Italian presence on the markets strengthens the cohesion of a society that looks to the future,” Mattarella said in his speech.
Established in 1901 by King Vittorio Emanuele III, the “Cavalieri del Lavoro,” recognizes Italian entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves in different sectors of the economy and contribute to social development, employment, technology and the growth of “Made in Italy.”
Others in the fashion industry who have been previously appointed Cavalieri del Lavoro include: Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler; Federico Marchetti; Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group; Rosita Missoni; Fabrizio Freda, CEO of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.; Claudio Marenzi, president and CEO of Herno; Roberto Colombo, president of Lanificio Luigi Colombo, a producer of cashmere and high-quality fibers, and Alberto Barberis Canonico, CEO of the Italian high-end woolen mill Vitale Barberis Canonico, established in 1936 on the outskirts of Biella, among others.