In a private ceremony held Friday at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Mattarella decorated the Italian designer with the country’s highest merit award, part of the country’s Order of Merit, which is bestowed upon personalities that have excelled in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities.
“This honor holds a particular meaning for me. 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,” said Armani. “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.”
The designer was handed the signature ribbon and written declaration, looking sharp in an elegant yet relaxed black suit and matching tie.
Before Armani, Miuccia Prada and Valentino Garavani both received the same honor in 2015 and 1986, respectively.
Last year through his Armani Casa interior design and furniture division, Armani received the stamp of approval from Italy’s president by donating a gray silk carpet with a three-dimensional effect and upholstery textiles to be part of the Quirinale Contemporaneo initiative, thus becoming a permanent fixture in the luncheon salon of the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, the official residence of the president.
In 2008, France recognized the outstanding influence of Armani by making him an Officer of the Legion of Honor, which was presented by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy, with a ceremony attended by Dame Helen Mirren.