FRENCH ACCOLADES: The French love Valentino, a fact certified on Wednesday evening when the designer received the Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal, given by Aurélie Filippetti, France’s minister of culture and communications.

“You have never left the front stage, as you were recently honored by the New York City Ballet for the costumes you created…,” said Filippetti, perched on black Valentino stilettos.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Given by France’s culture ministry, the distinction recognizes significant contributions to the arts, literature or the propagation of these fields.

It is the third time the designer, who owns Château de Wideville on the outskirts of Paris, is being honored in the French capital. In 2006, he was presented with the Légion d’Honneur. “The ceremony was in the same reception room [a gilded reception room overlooking the Palais-Royal],” Valentino told WWD, his new medal pinned on his gray flannel suit.

In 2008, the mayor of Paris awarded him with the Grand Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris, the equivalent of making him an honorary citizen of the French capital.

Close friends of the couturier — Giancarlo Giammetti, Georgina Brandolini, Doris Brynner and French actress Nathalie Baye — were among guests at the reception, where singer Benjamin Biolay and Serge Toubiana, general director of the Cinématèque Française, were also being honored.

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