WASHINGTON — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior executives got the VIP treatment here this week with Francophiles in Congress and the White House throwing open some of the best doors in town to welcome them.
Mixing business with pleasure, Pamela Baxter, president of Christian Dior Inc., led the group Tuesday morning on a retail tour of the area. Beginning with a jaunt to Tysons Corner in Virginia, the group toured the handbag department at Saks Fifth Avenue and the shoe department at Neiman Marcus before heading back across the Potomac to meet the staff of the Dior boutique, which opened in 2006 in Chevy Chase, Md.
They all then zipped off to the French Embassy for a party that evening billed as a tribute to the French Caucus. The caucus, a loose confederation of 111 senators and congressmen (which works out to roughly one out of every five members of Congress), began in 2003 to stanch the anti-French sentiment then prevalent in Congress. To toast the caucus, LVMH served up its newest line of Veuve Clicquot Champagne while Dior displayed its 2010 cruisewear line on the embassy’s regal grand staircase.
The spirit inspired Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and cochairman of the French Caucus, to mystify many of the guests with a lengthy recital of Charles Baudelaire’s poem about the albatross. “I never know what Jim is saying,” drawled his cochair, Arkansas Rep. John Boozman, who offered his own crowd-pleasing reasons for loving France, “It’s a great deal. They have the most fabulous house in town, the food is great, they serve great drink and the room is filled with the prettiest women.”
“Washington is a great center for fashion — tonight,” whispered LVMH North America chairman Renaud Dutreil, a former French minister for small business and enterprise, unable to repress a sly reference to the city’s seemingly unshakable reputation for politically correct frumpiness. Dutreil, who comes to Washington once a month to lobby Congress on issues including intellectual property protection, was off to Baltimore on Wednesday morning. But he planned to return to Washington in time for an important lunch.
Tessa Gillenwater, Dior’s West Coast regional director, arranged the event, which was hosted by her friend Mona Sutphen, President Obama’s deputy chief of staff.
Sutphen welcomed Baxter, Dutreil, Gillenwater and Karen Watkins, Dior’s executive vice president for retail, into a small dining room in the West Wing. While the group did not get to meet the President or Sutphen’s boss, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, they felt the buzz.
As they toured the Green, Red and Blue Rooms after lunch, one floor down President Obama was in the Cabinet Room meeting 20 congressional leaders to defend his economic record. From there, the President was off to the Diplomatic Room to brief reporters before heading to the Executive Office Building to announce more funding for 85 community health clinics. He then returned to the White House to pack for his flight Wednesday night to Oslo with First Lady Michelle Obama to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
“It was a very busy day,” said Baxter, interviewed by telephone on the train back to New York, armed with a box of White House M&M’s and her own slice of history. “If you are lucky enough to get invited to the White House, I highly recommend going during the holidays. The decorations are breathtaking.”
Exclusive: Nicola Formichetti is parting ways with @diesel after nearly four years. Formichetti, who served as Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009, joined Diesel in 2013 as creative and artistic director. His first show debuted in Venice with a show held at the Venetian Arsenal. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
The polo shirt - an icon of preppy style - is roaring back into fashion in many creative guises, like this A-line polyester top from @carven, worn with @31philliplim cotton and elastane pants. Designers stretched a fashion classic into all kinds of new permutations this season. See how @mayteallende styled the preppy trend on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📸 : Kinya)
(Market Editors: @andrew_shang and @elmercer, Makeup: @amandawilsonmakeup using @fentybeauty, Hair: @gonn24, Model: @bara_holotova at @women360mgmt)
“I do like period [projects] a lot because I like creating those worlds, a world that is different from today," costume designer Mark Bridges said about the '50s British couture featured in @phantomthread. Bridges created the overall aesthetic and individual fashion looks for the film, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Pictured here is a gown he designed for Krieps who plays Alma – the love interest of Day-Lewis' character, Reynolds Woodcock. #wwdfashion
@prada is embracing the holiday season with a series of short movies about the art of gift-giving. "The Postman's Gifts", which was directed by American filmmaker Autumn de Wilde, focuses on the brand's signature Prada Galleria bag and features Elijah Wood as the postman. In the first two episodes, Wood's delivers the iconic bag to @emmaroberts, who plays herself as a movie star, and Sasha Frolova. #wwdfashion
“I think I never met the person while we were working,” Vicky Krieps said of Daniel Day-Lewis, who she plays the love interest of in “Phantom Thread.” Day-Lewis remained perennially in character, so much so that she feels she’s just meeting him now. “It’s interesting to see how different he is in real life to the character,” Krieps said. WWD sat down with the 34-year-old actress to talk about her new role in the period film, which brings the fifties’ gender dynamics into the mix. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@gucci has expanded its “Places” project to include six new cities. The initiative, which was first unveiled in July, aims to invite people to explore inspirational locations for the brand. On the list is the Biblioteca Angelica library in Rome pictured here. See the other five new venues on WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @massimo_listri_official)
#ad From tools to lashes, WWD rounded up wellness and beauty products guaranteed to take your skin care and makeup routines to the next level in 2018. Follow along as @laceandleatherbyelyse, @ashnfashn and @elleisalwayshere experiment with these products on their Instagram profiles and blogs. #NewYearBetterYou
Blogger @camilacoelho is one of the fastest growing beauty influencers around the world. The bilingual blogger has worked with brands like @revolve Beauty, @dior, @louisvuitton and more and has an Earned Media Value of $34,338,441, according to @tribedynamics. But Coelho isn’t the only influencer making a major impact — head to WWD.com to see the other fastest-growing influencers in six key global markets. #beautyfridays (📷: @zefashioninsider)