French President Nicolas Sarkozy has conferred the prestigious Legion of Honour on Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, French fashion designer Jean-Claude Jitrois and other industry stalwarts during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
The French cultural award created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 is regarded as the highest decoration in France. The award is divided into five degrees Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).
In the past, the award has been given to names like Sir Michael Caine, Sir Sean Connery, Barbra Streisand, Charlie Chaplin, Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro.
Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani was presented the award amid a host of other celebrities including Karl Lagerfeld, Haider Ackermann, Roberto Cavalli, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Suzy Menkes and Peter Lindbergh.
The Telegraph reported that Sozzani, looking utterly glamorous in a sleek black shift dress covered in elaborate gold embroidery, was at the Élysée Palace to collect her medal which was awarded not only for her talent and contribution to the promotion of French fashion worldwide, but also for being a "risk taker".
First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy was present at the event as her husband presented the award.
"I am very truly gratified for this honour that France has wished to bestow upon me. It will be another incentive to carry on my mission as the Ambassador of Fashion," The Fashion Wire Daily quoted Sozzani saying, who besides running Italian Vogue for over three decades, is also United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for development of fashion worldwide.
Besides Sazzani, the award was presented to French fashion designer Jean-Claude Jitrois, actress Michelle Yeoh and French musician Jean-Michel Jarre.