Cate Blanchett

SYDNEYCate Blanchett and Collette Dinnigan are among 891 prominent Australians honored in Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honors list, which was announced today in Australia.

The Australian actress and former Sydney Theatre Company co-artistic director has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia, the most prestigious honor, for eminent service to the performing arts as a stage and screen actor, her directorship of artistic organisations, her support of humanitarian and environmental causes and for being a role model for women and young performers.

Dinnigan has been named an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Australian fashion industry, her support and promotion of Australian wool and for being a role model for women.

Three other fashion figures were also recognized on this year’s list.

Adelaide-based designers George Gross and Harry Watt, of the George Gross & Harry Who label, which shuttered in 2014, have been named Members of the Order of Australia for significant service to the fashion industry and their charitable work. Gross’s twin sister Kathy Gross, the duo’s former business partner, was also named a Member of the Order of Australia.

This has been a banner year for honors for the Australian fashion industry, with 27 year old Adelaide couturier Paul Vasileff named Young Australian of the Year in January. It was the first time a fashion designer had been recognized in the 57-year history of the Australian of the Year awards.

“I think it [the royal nod] shows you how important our industry has become,” said Dinnigan, who was the first Australian designer invited to show on the Paris Fashion Week schedule in the mid-1990s.

In 2013, she closed her premium line to focus on her growing family, travel and a burgeoning portfolio of rental properties and interior decoration and home wares projects.

Added Dinnigan, who has not ruled out a return to fashion at some point: “I’m always on about how many women and people in general [the fashion industry] employs and what we contribute to the [retail] turnover and how hard it is to be honest. But it’s sometimes overlooked”.

Announced as part of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations during the month of June – two months after her actual April 21st birthday – the Queen’s Birthday Honors List is comprised of various orders and honors recognizing achievements and good works by citizens of the monarch’s 16 Commonwealth realms. Not all countries participate, however.

Introduced in 1975, the Order of Australia is the only Australian order of chivalry. Since 1976, the categories of Knight and Dame have twice been introduced to the Australian honors list, only to be subsequently discontinued.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull last scrapped the two titles in November 2015, calling them “anachronistic and out of date”.

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