Brown’s Joan Burstein and Paul Smith Awarded 'Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris'

19 January 2012

Grazia Daily are filled with national pride this morning, as news reaches us that two of the British fashion industry’s most respected figures are to be awarded Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris (for those who were asleep at the back in French class: the vermilion City of Paris award) for their services to fashion. And the lucky winners? Joan Burstein, or Mrs B as the super chic octogenarian is affectionately know in fashion circles, the founder of the world famous Brown’s boutique, and our wonderful designer, Sir Paul Smith.

Ooh how we love it when the Parisians recognise we Brits know a thing or two about style! And as Mrs B is one of our fave fashion folk ever, we are especially cock-a-hoop.

In typical gracious fashion, Mrs B exclusively told Grazia Daily, 'It is a distinct honour that I never expected to receive.  I feel very lucky that I have been able to do something that I love and enjoy and to receive an award for this is a great achievement.'  In case you have been living under a rock, let us remind you of the highlights of Joan Burstein’s stellar career and why she’s been, and remains one of fashion’s most important movers and shakers…

  • Mrs B and her husband Sydney opened their now world famous boutique Browns on London’s South Molton Street in 1970.  Prior to this they had another boutique – Feathers – where they employed Manolo Blahnik as a shop assistant.
  • Mrs B famously bought John Galliano’s entire graduate collection catapulting him to overnight stardom. But she has also been instrumental in promoting the talents of other young British designers, namely Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab and Gareth Pugh.
  • In 1997 she opened Brown’s Focus opposite the main Brown’s boutique as a showcase for young, edgier labels.
  • She is recognized for bringing some of the world’s most famous fashion labels – namely Giorgio Armani, Missoni, Sonia Rykiel, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Jil Sander and Comme Des Garcons - to these shores.
  • In 2006 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honors list.

by Siobhan Mallen


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