PARIS — You know you’re in a room full of fashion professionals when a ribbon, mistakenly pinned on the wrong lapel, is greeted like an accessorizing “don’t” — with a chorus of protest.

That’s what happened when Didier Grumbach, head of France’s Chambre Syndicale, decorated Chloé president Ralph Toledano as a chevalier of the Legion of Honor Tuesday night before an audience that included chief executives from Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel, Richemont and such designers as Alber Elbaz and Martine Sitbon.

No matter. Grumbach corrected his faux pas with a blush and a quick restyling, which was followed by a heartfelt speech by Toledano. “Our industry is simply fabulous,” he said before an industry crowd of about 80 gathered for the presentation. “I have a real passion for it, and I am grateful and privileged to have worked with so many extraordinary and creative people.”

Chairman and chief executive at Chloé since 1999, Toledano has worked with Stella McCartney — “it was a bit wild,” he quipped about the period —and now Phoebe Philo, McCartney’s former design assistant. Before that, Toledano worked at Guy Laroche, where he discovered Alber Elbaz, and ran Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion house for 10 years. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, 52 years ago, Toledano started his career at Lanvin and also worked at Yves Saint Laurent accessories.

At a cocktail party before the ceremony, many approached Dior president Sidney Toledano to solve a long-simmering industry mystery: Are they related? No, but they attended grade school together and, thanks to their same last names, were typically seated next to one another. A friendship bloomed and, though they’ve never worked together at the same firm, “it’s almost a family relationship,” Dior’s Toledano said, beaming proudly.

Elbaz was also talking relationships, praising Chloé’s Toledano for finding him at Geoffrey Beene, where he had been an assistant for seven years, and bringing him to Paris to design Laroche.

“He was the one to give me the first chance and to introduce me to the broader fashion world,” Elbaz said. “I always say the relationship between a designer and the president of a fashion house is like being a husband and wife.“And I must say,” he added with a laugh, “Ralph was a wonderful husband.”

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