Tom Ford has been elected chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
The appointment was ratified by the CFDA board of directors at a meeting Tuesday. Ford will succeed Diane von Furstenberg, who was named president of the CFDA in 2006 and became chairwoman in 2015. Ford’s start date was originally slated for January, 2020, but it was decided today to move the date up to June, 2019.
WWD broke the news last week that Ford was in line to succeed von Furstenberg. Under von Furstenberg, along with Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, the organization has ushered in a period of unprecedented growth for American fashion, followed by the current period of volatility triggered by seismic changes within and outside of fashion.
Von Furstenberg had succeeded Stan Herman, who served in the role for 16 years.
Ford is the 11th person to hold the position, which had previously been titled president until it was upgraded to chairman for von Furstenberg in 2015. The roster of presidents has included Herman, Sydney Wragge, Norman Norell, Oscar de la Renta, Herbert Kasper, Bill Blass, Mary McFadden, Perry Ellis and Carolyne Roehm.
While the vote took place at the CFDA board meeting, most of the meeting was expected to focus on the upcoming CFDA Fashion Awards gala.
Some 19 people serve on the CFDA board, including such names as Herman, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Reed Krakoff, Tracy Reese, Norma Kamali, Mimi So, Georgina Chapman, Ashley Olsen, Vera Wang, Marcus Wainwright and von Furstenberg.
A letter, which was emailed to CFDA members from Lisa Smilor, executive vice president of the CFDA and was obtained by WWD, said, “Tom Ford’s vast experience and knowledge will be of great value to the CFDA and the membership in support of our mission to bring greater visibility and opportunity to American designers globally.” The letter said that additional information about the transition in the CFDA’s leadership will be shared as it becomes available.
One of the critical topics that’s likely to be on Ford’s agenda is that New York Fashion Week needs reinventing. While it hasn’t been confirmed, rumors continue to swirl that NYFW would move to The Shed at Hudson Yards in September, but IMG officials are still finalizing plans for the spring 2020 shows in September.
Over the last few years, the CFDA has been at the forefront of the model health initiative and has delved into the sustainability issue. It has also made diversity on the runway a priority.
Today, the CFDA has more than 500 members, consisting of women’s wear, men’s wear, jewelry and accessory designers. Among its programs are the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, New York Fashion Week, Elaine Gold Launch Pad, CFDA Fashion Trust, CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative, and Americans in Paris. The CFDA also manages the Fashion Calendar, which it acquired in 2014.
As for the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards, earlier this month WWD reported that Swarovski and the CFDA will part ways after a 17-year run, with Swarovski not involved in the upcoming awards show, set for June 3 at the Brooklyn Museum. It had been the main sponsor of the industry event. In addition, Swarovski will no longer support the Emerging Designer Award and the Award for Positive Change. Kolb said he was in the process of finding new partners and sponsorships.