NEW YORK — Diane von Furstenberg, the newly minted president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, hopes to create an organization "so that people who are members of the CFDA are proud to be members."
Minutes after a secret ballot vote at a CFDA board meeting Monday that determined her win over Joseph Abboud, the 59-year-old von Furstenberg outlined her vision for the two-year term she will start in October when Stan Herman steps down after 15 years in that role. Last year, the bylaws changed, restricting CFDA presidents to two two-year terms.
"I want to really work on all the benefits this membership gives," she said. "The most important thing — and I would like this to be my legacy — is to really create an incredible network service system."
Von Furstenberg spoke at CFDA's Broadway headquarters, to which she was whisked in her green Bentley. It's an indication of the sense of glamour and grandeur — and power — that she could bring to the organization.
"I would like to go to the mayor and see what he can do for us," she said. "Our mayor appreciates that the fashion business is a huge business, and I would like to see what we can do together. We will have to talk about the endowment, and overall, create more of a brand for the CFDA, which is something I know how to do."
Von Furstenberg also hopes to increase the rapport with the CFDA's international counterparts, France's Chambre Syndicale and Italy's Camera Nazionale Della Moda. "I know both Didier Grumbach and Mario Boselli, and I want them to respect us, and I think we will be the best of all the organizations and they will look up to us."
As president, von Furstenberg will serve as the public face of the organization, but she also has a mandate to galvanize the fashion community and respond to the members' needs. In addition, she will work closely with executive director Steven Kolb, who joined the organization last December, to raise funds.
For von Furstenberg, the presidency was as much about her vision for the organization as her personal goal of giving back to the fashion community.
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