Byline: Aileen Mehle
Herewith find for your delectation (?) the 2001-2002 International Best Dressed List. The selection of these listed ladies — if you are on the Best Dressed List you are automatically a lady — is said to be the result of worldwide ballots, counted and finalized by a committee of fashion authorities (?) who meet in the New York apartment of Eleanor Lambert, the iconic, the absolute doyenne of international fashion. The List is the invincible Eleanor’s baby, born and bred and brought to maturity — should we say venerability? — by her and her alone.
This list is always controversial. Maybe that’s why, after all these years, it still has a certain amount of validity. Some live and die by it. Some think it’s patently silly. Members of the committee have their favorites whom they are not loath to push. Some even have axes to grind. That’s fine. That’s all well and good, but the list, after all, is only as good as the judges.
Accordingly, this year’s choices supposedly reflect “the current power and influence of the younger generations who respect individuality in dress, because there is no designer who must be followed.” What? What? Oh, maybe they mean those newsboys caps. Well, yuck.
On the list numbering 12 ladies, five are in the media. And of the three named to this year’s Hall of Fame (to which those are elevated who have made the list three years or more), two are in the media. So what does that tell you? It tells you that if you don’t get your name and face out there at every lighted candle, it’s pretty clear that as far as this sort of thing is concerned, you’ll wither on the vine. Show me a shrinking violet and I’ll show you an also-ran.
We are informed that leading the pack “naturally” are “two noteworthy movie stars.” They are Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry. Surprised? No, you’re not. They owe their reputations as fashion stars primarily to how they look when they strut their stuff at the Oscars, absolutely wonderful. Following their lead are Mrs. David (Julia) Koch of New York and Palm Beach, wife of the billionaire financier; Kate Moss, the model’s model; Enid Nemy, the New York Times writer; Her Royal Highness Queen Rania of Jordan, the radiant young beauty who dresses not only appropriately but with tremendous style; Marina Rust, a Vogue contributing editor; Susan Fales-Hill, the New York television producer; Mitsuko Uchida, a Japanese classical pianist who wears haute couture as she tickles the ivories; Cecilia Dean, the American editor of Visionaire; Carine Roitfeld, the editor in chief of French Vogue (her kiss-me-quick shoes and hair draped over one eye have been mined ad infinitum by the fickle fashion flock) and Anh Duong, the French-born painter. This year’s Hall of Famers are Marian McEvoy, the editor of House Beautiful; Anne McNally, the fashion director of Vanity Fair and Mrs. Henry (Marie-Josee) Kravis, the Canadian-born economist married to the New York financier. Let the applause — and the boos — begin.
The London press is gaga over the big news that Queen Elizabeth and Camilla Parker Bowles met for the very first time ever in Buckingham Palace. Repeat, in Buckingham Palace. It was at a big splendid soiree on Tuesday, a dinner and concert hosted by the Prince of Wales in the Grand Ballroom, celebrating the 75th birthday of famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, always a favorite of the royals.
The Queen and her son’s beloved actually did meet a couple of years ago, but that was at a barbecue, stone the crows, even if it was a fancy one given at Prince Charles’s country house, Highgrove, to celebrate King Constantine of Greece’s 60th birthday. But not in the Palace, never ever before!
Of course, Camilla has been at Buckingham with Charles many times, but her visits were always carefully timed when the Queen would be elsewhere. Now everyone is twittering that this is another step in the royal family’s acceptance of Charles and Camilla’s longtime relationship. You personally may not give a farthing, but over there there is no greater operetta.
All the crowned, semi-crowned and tiara-ed heads were present at the concert — Anne, The Princess Royal; Prince Andrew; Prince Edward; the Countess of Wessex; the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; all the Kents, the Duke, Prince and Princess Michael and Princess Alexandra; King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece; Queen Sofia of Spain and her daughter, the Infanta Elena; Queen Silvia of Sweden; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, like that. Oh, and even some Americans including Mercedes and Sid Bass of Fort Worth and New York and Frances Hayward of the New York Haywards.
Camilla was presented to the Queen in such a way as to avoid being photographed, and Elizabeth did not attend the grand dinner (breast of guinea hen) after the concert. But Camilla was seated next to King Juan Carlos of Spain at Prince Charles’s table. And I really should mention that the prince’s pocket handkerchief was exactly the same shade of “royal” purple as Camilla’s wrap! That right there is enough to send us all into a spin!
When a society wedding is so spectacular and beautifully organized as that of Emilia Fanjul and Brian Pfeifler one week ago in the Dominican Republic, the raves never stop.