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FRENCH ACCENT: Marc Jacobs choked back tears after being decorated as Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand, at a ceremony that also honored Nathalie Rykiel, president and creative director of the Sonia Rykiel brand, and Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, the president of Comité Colbert, France’s main luxury association.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Though his voice cracked at times, Jacobs delivered his acceptance speech in near-flawless French. “I practiced all night and all morning,” said the designer, who traded in his trademark kilt for a sober gray suit. “I’m just kind of overcome with emotion. It really means a lot to me, as an American, to be honored by a country that I love so much.”


Mitterrand said Jacobs followed in a long line of illustrious Americans in Paris. “Coming after Gene Kelly is not bad!” Mitterrand quipped.

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