By  on January 4, 2006

LONDON - Just call her Dame Vivienne.

Vivienne Westwood, that champion of punk, was named a Dame of the British Empire in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's honors list. As such, she becomes the most highly decorated female British fashion designer ever.

"This is an honor," said Westwood in a statement. "I think the honor system helps to bind together the fabric of British society."

Westwood, who is a royalist at heart, was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1992. After receiving the OBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, she famously turned to the photographers outside to reveal she wasn't wearing any underwear.

In the realm of British fashion designers with high honors from the Queen, Westwood joins the likes of men's and women's designer Sir Paul Smith and the late couturiers to the Queen and the Queen Mother, Sir Hardy Amies and Sir Norman Hartnell.

Meanwhile, other figures from the world of British fashion and beauty received awards in the New Year's list: Men's wear designer Ozwald Boateng, hair colorist Daniel Galvin, and former Pringle chief executive officer Kim Winser were each given the Order of the British Empire. Boateng, who celebrated his 20th anniversary in British fashion this year, said he was flattered by the royal nod. "It is a very meaningful acknowledgement of my work," he said in a statement.

Winser was recognized for the job she has done during the past five years in turning the 190-year-old Pringle into one of the hottest British fashion brands around. During her tenure, she increased its sales tenfold to 100 million pounds, or $172 million at current exchange.

Pringle, which is owned by the Fang family of Hong Kong, early last month named Douglas Fang to succeed Winser as ceo and Jean Fang as chief operating officer. Clare Waight Keller joined the company last July as creative director after stints at Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Gucci. She will present her first men's wear collection for the brand this month in Milan.

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