That was the sentiment last Wednesday as friends and co-workers gathered to bid adieu to Francois Damide, the U.S. president of Solstiss/Bucol. The Frenchman is moving back to Paris next week to become the marketing and development consultant for Solstiss, the high-end lace mill based in Caudry, a small town north of Paris known for its lace production.
A Caudry native, Damide began working for Solstiss in 1985 as the assistant export manager for Europe, moving here in 1986 to head the company’s U.S. office. In 1995, he signed on as the U.S. agent for Bucol, the Lyon, France-based silk mill owned by Hermès.
“I never expected my time here would turn out to be this successful,” said Damide, who remains a shareholder in Solstiss Inc. the mill’s U.S. division. “I have to say, American designers are a pleasure to work with and I learned so much from them. I am very thankful to Seventh Avenue for making my dreams come true.”
At Damide’s party — which was held at the Solstiss/Bucol offices on Seventh Avenue and catered by Payard — Herve Pierre, design director at Carolina Herrera and a fellow Frenchman, was quick to point out Damide’s transformation over the last 20 years. “He’s French, of course, but he worked more than 35 hours a week and was never on strike,” he quipped, “so I believe he became a New Yorker.”
Another countryman, Jean-Francois Ricat, director of couture at J. Mendel, has known and worked with Damide for a decade. “Francois is one of the most knowledgeable people in fabrics, and especially in lace, that I have ever met,” he said.
Designer Derek Lam first met Damide in 1987 while working at Michael Kors. “He was one of the first people I met in fabrics,” he said. “Then, when I started my own collection, he really extended himself to me. You can tell the minute you meet him that he has a very generous spirit. I know he’s leaving a lot of fans behind in New York.”Damide will be replaced by Benoit Breal, the former U.S. manager of Editions d’Art de Rambouillet, a company specializing in embossed leather and printed fabric for the high-end home furnishings market. “He’s the right person for the job,” said Damide. “I have confidence that he will continue to grow the U.S. business for both Solstiss and Bucol.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews