The Vanity Fair International Best-Dressed List for 2016 is out, giving the magazine another chance to display its royalty-loving credentials: This year, for the first time ever, Queen Elizabeth II gets a special mention that puts her in a category all her own.
Yes, the British queen. She's 90, and hasn't really been a fashion icon since ... well, maybe the 1950s or 1960s.
So it's likely to be heartening to those of certain age to learn that a woman in her 10th decade, who usually wears more or less the same outfit in different colors, is being honored with a first-ever special citation for "steadfastness in dress."
Her "resolute sense of style" across a century is worthy of admiration, says Vanity Fair special correspondent Amy Fine Collins, who, along with editor Graydon Carter, deputy editor Aimée Bell, and contributing editor Reinaldo Herrera, is a keeper of the list, established in 1940 and the result of thousands of ballots sent to fashion observers around the world.
“She has consistently represented who she is and what she stands for, without wavering from a standard she set a long time ago,” says Collins. “Politics, culture, and class structure in the empire — all of that shifts constantly, but she doesn’t. She’s a beacon.”
And she is not the only royal on the list: Granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton, the always-beautifully-turned-out Duchess of Cambridge, is lavishly featured as a Hall of Fame regular. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is a new inductee, and the latter's husband, Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, makes the men's list, as does Prince Harry. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands makes the women's list.
Even a "pretend queen," Helen Mirren, who's won an Oscar and a Tony playing Queen Elizabeth II, makes the list in the Hollywood category.
In her youth, Queen Elizabeth was viewed as a real-life fairy princess and then a dazzling fairy queen. More than six decades later, as a head of state, her fashion makes her a familiar figure around the world — the symbolic embodiment of the British people.
Her many fans are getting a close-up look at her fashion at three different exhibits at three of her palaces, starting with Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe, which opened at Buckingham Palace in July.
Other notables on the list this year: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Zadie Smith, Andra Day, Eddie Redmayne, Lady Gaga and a pair of Tony-winning Hamilton stars, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs.
The October issue of Vanity Fair is on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles and on the iPhone, Kindle, and other devices, on Sept. 8. It hits newsstands nationally on Sept. 13.