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FASHION’S HONOR ROLL: Anna Wintour has been named an OBE, or Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in England’s Queen’s birthday honors list. Wintour received the award, as part of the diplomatic service and overseas list, for services to British journalism and British fashion in the U.S.
Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, is the second British-born, U.S.-based magazine editor to be honored by the system this year, after Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, picked up an OBE last week.
A few other British fashion names were honored in this year’s list, which was published Saturday. Louise Wilson, the course director of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design’s renowned master’s degree in fashion, was named an OBE for services to education and to the fashion industry, while London-based designer Wale Adeyemi was named an MBE, or Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion industry. Meanwhile, architect Richard Rogers was made a companion of honor, an award that recognizes a preeminent and sustained contribution in the arts, science, medicine or government, for public service and services to architecture.
RODEO HONORS BLAHNIK: Manolo Blahnik will be the 12th Rodeo Drive Walk of Style honoree. The footwear designer will be honored with a permanent plaque on the famed shopping street on Sept. 25. The award, created in 2003 by the Rodeo Drive Committee and the City of Beverly Hills, has been given to James Galanos, Donatella Versace, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani, among others.
LOPEZ EXITS ST. JOHN: Maria D. Lopez, St. John’s vice president of design for over 10 years, left the company Friday after giving lengthy notice. Word has it Lopez has wanted to start her own line for some time and has found a backer. St. John had no comment on Lopez’s resignation.
SECRET RENDEZVOUS: She’s spotted wearing the bags and shoes all over town, but is Charlize Theron auditioning for a starring role in the Roger Vivier brand? In Paris for tonight’s premiere of “Hancock,” Theron was said to have requested a private meeting with Bruno Frisoni on Sunday evening at the George V. He and Hervé Van der Straeten are also accompanying her to tonight’s screening, but no word on whose shoes will.
WILLKOMMEN, RAF: If Thursday’s party for the new Jil Sander boutique in Manhattan felt a lot like a gallery soiree, then so be it. Jil Sander’s creative director Raf Simons makes no secret of his admiration of the arts, and he collaborated with artist Germaine Kruip on a striking installation of rotating mirrored panels for the store. On the second floor of the store, which is at the corner of Howard and Crosby Streets, a gaggle of models in looks from the spring collection brightened the scene, which included the likes of Maria Cornejo and Yvonne Force Villareal. Post-party, a group of Simons’ friends and editors headed over to Kurt Gutenbrunner’s eatery Wallsé for some white asparagus and Austrian-style lamb chops. Narciso Rodriguez had flown in from East Hampton that afternoon. “I haven’t met Raf, but I am a big fan,” said Rodriguez before Simons’ arrival. After the dinner, Simons couldn’t contain his admiration for Gotham, and particularly his favorite neighborhood, Chelsea. “I love New York, and Chelsea for its galleries. And I love Crosby Street.”
THE BRITS HAVE THEIR STANDARDS: Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle may have spoken out of turn during her fictional visit to England’s famous Royal Ascot race meeting, but at least she dressed the part. Now, in a bid to rid the Royal Enclosure at the real-life Ascot of fashion blunders this season, the racecourse has been forced to lay out a dress code that’s stricter than ever.
The race meeting, which runs from June 17 to 21, has stipulated that women with passes to the Royal Enclosure, where England’s Royal Family watch the races and wander, should refrain from wearing dresses and tops that are “off the shoulder, halter neck, [with] spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch.” The request has been issued by Queen Elizabeth’s representative at Royal Ascot, the Duke of Devonshire, who also suggests that “only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator [headdress] will be acceptable.” If visitors fail to comply, they will be asked to leave the enclosure — if they even get past the eagle-eyed stewards at the gate.
The hard-line rules come as guests in recent years have taken to wearing thigh-skimming skirts and strapless tops, with subtle hair ornaments rather than hats or head-dresses — all in a desperate attempt to be snapped by the hordes of paparazzi outside the gates and have their pictures end up in one of Britain’s tabloids. Royal Ascot’s Web site even publishes a page of images to illustrate the dos and don’ts of the dress code.
While some might snipe the famed race meeting is a bit behind the fashion times, its organizers don’t agree. “Royal Ascot is a place where new fashions are showcased…however, the Royal Meeting remains a place for formal daywear,” said Charles Barnett, chief executive of Ascot. “We know how important it is to protect the integrity of the Royal Enclosure dress code and all the traditions that make Royal Ascot unique.”