LOVE LETTERS: “I love any award that’s an accessory,” Glenda Bailey said, patting the green medal that Alber Elbaz had just pinned to the left lapel of her Lanvin tuxedo dress. “At last I’ve got something in common with Meryl Streep and George Clooney.”

Karl Lagerfeld, Sarah Burton, Peter Copping, Carven’s Guillaume Henry, Jean Paul Goude and a host of top luxury executives gathered at the Bristol Hotel to watch the British editor in chief of American Harper’s Bazaar be decorated as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Given by France’s culture ministry, the distinction recognizes significant contributions to the arts, literature or the propagation of these fields.

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“It’s a lot more fun working with Glenda than trying to compete with her,” Duncan Edwards, president and chief executive officer of Hearst Magazines International, told the crowd, generating a round of knowing chuckles.

Elbaz called Bailey the “fairy godmother of this bizarre fashion industry,” and lauded her great powers of persuasion. He recounted how she once had him pose for a photo seated on a chair that seemed to float on a Central Park lake. “Another year she turned me into,” he said, pausing for dramatic effect, “James Bond.”

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