WESTWOOD, OH!: She was the first fashion type to take the stage at the annual Hay Festival of Literature in Wales — and boy did Dame Vivienne Westwood give her listeners an earful. Much to the packed audience’s dismay, the punk princess turned political activist didn’t want to talk fashion at all. Instead, she laid out a “cultural manifesto,” weaving together elements from “Alice in Wonderland,” “Pinocchio” and Greek philosophy into a diatribe about what art is — or maybe isn’t. Whatever it was, it was hard to follow — even for an audience used to sitting through some heavy-duty political, scientific and cultural debate. Actress Diana Quick, who was moderating the event, tried in vain to steer the conversation back toward frocks, but Westwood insisted that subject bored her. Some people marched out of the tent, those who didn’t were left bewildered. And — true to form — Westwood succeeded in becoming the talking point (so far) of the weeklong festival, which runs until June 3. One audience member was overheard calling Westwood “mental” — and that certainly wouldn’t have been the first time the word was used to describe fashion’s flame-haired enigma. For those who missed it, there is more to come: Dame Vivienne plans to publish the manifesto on her Web site, and — get ready — Brian Grazer has recently bought the rights to her life story.
MEDAL WORKS: Floriane de Saint Pierre, one of Paris’s top fashion recruiters, has been named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. François-Henri Pinault is set to decorate her with the French award of merit at a ceremony in Paris during couture week.
HAT IN HAND: What to wear to a British wedding? That was one of the topics discussed at a lunch at Michael’s last Wednesday to celebrate Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White’s latest novel, “Lethally Blonde.” Author Linda Fairstein hosted the event, which drew Kim Cattrall, Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View,” Lesley Stahl, former “Apprentice” judge Carolyn Kepcher, Hilary Gumbel and Joan Carl, president of D. Porthault (one brunette party crasher not allowed was Hearst executive vice president Michael Clinton, whom White had to shoo away — lightheartedly — from the ladies’ lunch). White admitted she was perplexed at whether or not to wear a hat to an upcoming wedding in London. Carl, who has a home there, insisted she do so and choose a topper from her collection of 80 hats. White also got a helpful tip from Cattrall, who was born in the U.K. — in case it’s a windy day, pin the hat to your head with bobby pins. “Lethally Blonde” arrived in bookstores last week.