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CFDA Talks Models, Schedules, Cabinet

At the year's first meeting of the Council of Fashion Designers of America board on Wednesday, president Diane von Furstenberg named four officers to her so-called cabinet.<BR><BR>

NEW YORK — The president appointed her administration’s cabinet.

At the year’s first meeting of the Council of Fashion Designers of America board on Wednesday, president Diane von Furstenberg named four officers to her so-called cabinet. According to sources, Reed Krakoff, Coach’s president and executive creative director, has been named vice president; Richard Lambertson, treasurer, and Yeohlee Teng, secretary. The board unanimously voted for the designers.

Von Furstenberg also named two committee chairmen. She asked Stan Herman, her CFDA predecessor, to become chairman of the admissions committee, and Joseph Abboud, her main competitor for the top job, to serve as chairman of the educational committee. Both accepted. One source also mentioned that von Furstenberg outlined her three-year plan and set up an exploratory committee to consider potential sites for the next Seventh on Sale benefit, which is tentatively scheduled for November, and ways to improve the event and generate more money.

The meeting, which was held at the Condé Nast tower at 4 Times Square here, is not open to the press, but according to sources, much of the focus was on the show dates, including September’s clash with Rosh Hashanah. The majority of designers are said to favor shifting the entire week from Friday, Sept. 7, to Friday, Sept. 14, to Wednesday, Sept. 5, to Wednesday, Sept. 12, the eve of which the Jewish holiday begins.

Sources also indicated that von Furstenberg raised the issue of the entire show schedule to board members and if its overall timing needs to be reconsidered. Von Furstenberg is meeting with Mario Boselli, president of the Camera della Moda; Didier Grumbach, president of France’s Chambre Syndicale, and Hilary Riva, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, in Paris on Jan. 24 to discuss schedules, as well as the skinny model issue.

According to sources, the board meeting went off without any major turbulence — despite the expected presence of an NBC evening news reporter lurking outside the building to quiz designers on the ultrathin model debate, which was one of the issues on the agenda. But that subject did not tie up any more time than any of the others discussed during the 90-minute meeting, a source said.

Sources said the model guidelines were discussed and ratified during the meeting, and a memo explaining them is expected to go out to CFDA members within days. Last Friday, the CFDA assembled a committee to work on a health initiative, which includes nutritionist Joy Bauer, psychiatrist Susan Ice, trainer David Kirsch and Nian Fish, creative director at public relations and event production firm KCD.

Bauer is said to have secured an exclusivity deal to break the guidelines on NBC’s “Today” show, where she is a correspondent. The guidelines are expected to be unveiled on Friday’s program. According to a report in The New York Times, the guidelines include offering healthier food options backstage at fashion shows; setting fittings with younger models during the day, and the general need for designers and casting agents to monitor the eating habits of models and take measures to help those models who appear to have a problem. However, the guidelines are recommendations, and it is uncertain whether they can be legally enforced.

“The CFDA board discussed the current health initiative and the soon-to-be-released guidelines and was in full agreement that it is an important effort,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA.

Von Furstenberg is expected to spell out the initiatives at a press conference during next month’s New York collections.

All in all, she emphasized at the meeting her plans to further American fashion on a global scale and reportedly encouraged all domestic designers to get involved. “It’s a whole different world. She’s trying to secure her connections with the city and the international fashion community,” a source said. “It was all very positive — there was no backbiting.”