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STARS AND STRIPES: He may have kept everyone waiting as he tied up official state business, but it didn’t take French President Nicolas Sarkozy long to win over the fashion crowd as he decorated designers Sonia Rykiel and Jean-Louis Scherrer in a ceremony at the Elysées palace Wednesday evening. “Even I know you’re famous for stripes,” said Sarkozy as he praised Rykiel in a speech before making her a commander in the French Legion of Honor. “You are terribly French,” he continued of Rykiel. “We need more free spirits like yours to turn our habits on their heads. Our country is too conservative.” Meanwhile, Sarkozy told the crowd how Scherrer was “emblematic” of the Seventies. “You contributed to French elegance,” he said. “What more can one wish from life than to achieve something?” The likes of Ines de la Fressange, former French prime minister Lionel Jospin, writer Christine Orban, Anouk Aimée and Claudia Cardinale were among the glitterati that then congratulated the two designers on their honors.