FHCM Solidification of Its Latest Board Offers A Comparative Lesson For The US

FHCM Solidification of Its Latest Board Points To Why PFW Continue to Thrive While New York FW Is Wiltering

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has renewed the President and its Womenswear and Menswear board for Haute Couture, Womenswear, and Menswear.

New appointees include:
Gianfranco Gianangeli, CEO of Margiela
Elsa Lanzo, CEO of Rick Owens
Anouck Duranteau-Loeper, CEO of Isabel Marant

They join ongoing FHCM Executive President Pascal Morand and
Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Global Fashion of Chanel
Sidney Toledano, Chairman & CEO of LVMH Fashion Group
Pietro Beccari, Chairman & CEO of Christian Dior
Francesca Bellettini, President & CEO of Saint Laurent
Riccardo Bellini, CEO of Chloé
William Halimi, Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder of Barbara Bui
Séverine Merle, CEO of Celine
Issey Miyake, Founder and Designer of Issey Miyake
Guillaume de Seynes, Executive Vice-President of Hermès
Daniel Tribouillard, President of Léonard
Vincent Vantomme, Business Development Director at Dries Van Noten
Arnaud Bazin, ‎Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lanvin
Bastien Daguzan, CEO of Paco Rabanne
Isabel Ribeiro, Managing Director of Paul Smith

Composed of an exemplary list of Presidents and CEOs of France’s major fashion houses, its stark contrast to the structure of the US is telling. The CFDA Board members in comparison, are lead by designers. So, is there a lesson to be learned here?

While both the FHCM and the CFDA do far more than simply manage fashion weeks, those fashion weeks are core reflections of the shape of the organizations.

Paris Fashion week is considered the premier venue for shows worldwide. Their recipe for success is a focused fashion week curated with a highly groomed set of design houses on the calendar. The FHCM doesn’t strive for quantity, it screens for quality. This also results in Europe holding fewer shows in a day. Pre-covid, Paris had 13 shows maximum as compared to up to 28 show/presentations that may debut any day at New York Fashion Week. Not everyone can get on the calendar in Paris, which creates an environment composed of a more edited collective of powerhouse designers.

In recent years, NYFW has opened its arms to include more international contemporary and evening designers. The wide array of shows were not as edited as the shows in Europe, leaving the attendees with too many choices. Lesser-known brands popped up, with quality levels that were at times questionable.

Why should we expect designers to have the busy savvy of CEOs? Designers can certainly be tremendous business people, but when your brand name is on the door, decision making comes with an emotional component. Maybe one of the reasons the roster of shows at NYFW is so inclusive, is because these designers take umbrage in saying no to the up and comers. It’s hard to deny someone when you see them go through the same struggle of establishing a brand that you’ve been through.

Multiple headlines have shouted at the US over the years that fashion week was dead. Could a resurrection be possible? Perhaps, but also perhaps the true challenge is the type of decision-making and leadership necessary to drive a global fashion agenda that attracts the brightest talent and positions them for success. Designers have designers’ interests at heart, and while aware of the needs of buyers and international media, the business acumen to drive may be better suited in the hands of business creatives that drive.