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GOWN AND OUTS

ASTRAGAL

The best no-show excuse on the night was offered by developer John Ritblat of British Land, who couldn't be there to receive his honorary fellowship because he was 'with the Olympic skiing team in Turin'. You know how it is. Vivienne Westwood, who was also made an honorary fellow, gave the most half-hearted apologies ('a crisis in the studio') but fielded the most glamorous stand-in in the form of Odile Decq, architecture's answer to, well, Vivienne Westwood. Astragal would have described Decq as one of the most recognisable people in architecture, were it not for the fact that RIBA Trust Director Charles Knevitt, who was responsible for reading out the recipients' names, clearly didn't have a clue who she was and had to turn to Pringle for help.

But for pure sartorial panache even Decq was upstaged by Ito himself, who dressed for the occasion - with a little help from a Japanese embassy aide - in a ceremonial kimono.

Looking only a little breathless, he admitted that he had never worn a kimono before, and that he had not expected the belt to be quite so tight.

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