HONORING SUI: The Council of Fashion Designers of America isn’t the only organization tipping its hat to Anna Sui this year.

The designer, who is receiving the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award at Monday’s 2009 CFDA Fashion Awards, just made a quick trip to China, where she was honored at Saturday’s China Fashion Awards in Beijing.

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Sui took home the Shanghai Media Group’s Classic Icon of Fashion and Design award at the awards ceremony and gala, which included a fashion show featuring 30 looks from her fall collection.

“This award is particularly meaningful to me because I am getting recognition from the home of my ancestors,” Sui said. “To be honored as the 2009 Fashion Icon of the Year at the China Fashion Awards has made my parents very proud.”


MORE FROM THE ASTOR TRIAL: Despite her $189 million fortune, three grand residences, mounds of jewels and a museum-quality art collection, an aging Brooke Astor couldn’t stop worrying. “I don’t have any money,” she fretted to Christopher Ely, her butler.

“You shouldn’t worry about it,” Ely reassured her.

“I’ll have to ask [Tony],” she would respond — her only son, Anthony Marshall, who was in charge of his mother’s affairs.

He’s now in criminal court for allegedly helping himself to her estate when Astor was suffering from Alzheimer’s, including unduly influencing his mother in order to sell off her prized Childe Hassam painting, “Up the Avenue from 34th Street.” It was sold for $10 million — with a $2 million commission to Marshall — while Astor was wintering in Palm Beach in 2002.

“Now can I go buy some dresses?” Astor asked her son, Ely testified Tuesday. The next day, Astor went shopping.

Meanwhile, her memory was failing. Astor confused her son with her late husband, and couldn’t remember names. “David, do I know that man?” she asked David Rockefeller when lunching with his brother Laurance, despite the fact that they were longtime friends, testified Rockefeller’s granddaughter, Miranda Kaiser. And when Astor signed a document granting Marshall an instant $5 million, she couldn’t remember doing so. “What did I sign?” she asked Ely.

Kaiser also remembers asking Astor why she didn’t have any children after her son. Astor responded, “He was so unfortunate, I decided not to have any more.”

CFDA UPDATE: Speaking of the CFDA, with just a few days left before Monday’s 2009 CFDA Awards, details of the night are beginning to take shape. As in previous years, this year’s awards will include a number of notable presenters. Blake Lively will hand out the Swarovski Awards for women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories, and Diane Kruger has been tapped to present the Accessories Designer of the Year award. Antoine Arnault, Louis Vuitton’s head of communications, and Robert Duffy will present Marc Jacobs with his International Award.

MICHELLE OBAMA’S LONDON TOUR: She may be one of the world’s most-watched women, but that didn’t stop Michelle Obama from enjoying the trappings of a typical tourist visit to London this week. Obama, who arrived in the city Monday with her daughters, Sasha and Malia, made quite a splash when the family took in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday. Wearing a layered ensemble of yellow and lilac cardigans over an embroidered dress on top of gray trousers — no doubt picked with London’s erratic summer weather in mind — Obama waved to fellow sightseers after taking a private tour of the nearly 1,000-year-old abbey with her daughters, given by the Dean of Westminster. The visit was gleefully recorded by London’s Evening Standard, which ran a picture of Sasha and Malia Obama leaving the abbey on its front page Tuesday. Meanwhile, Obama further impressed the British press with her down-to-earth credentials by partaking of dinner at a regular London pub Monday evening — albeit one located on Mount Street, in London’s posh Mayfair area. A spokeswoman for the pub, called The Audley, said Sasha and Malia ate fish and chips. And, despite reports that “Harry Potter” fans Sasha and Malia were due to take a tour of the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” film set Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Leavesden Studios, where the film is being shot, said no visit took place or was planned.


FAREWELL, MULBERRY: Lisa Montague, Mulberry’s chief operating officer and a driving force behind the brand’s growth, has quit her post at the British luxury accessories firm. “The time comes to move on, and I’d love to have a different experience elsewhere after six great years at Mulberry,” she told WWD. Montague, who left her station at the end of last month, said she is not headed anywhere else at the moment. Her position will not be filled, a Mulberry spokeswoman said. Montague had aggressively driven Mulberry’s retail and wholesale expansion internationally and steadily built up the accessories and footwear business.


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