NAME ON: Let’s face it, the full name of the French fashion federation, La Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, is a bit of a mouthful, especially for non-French speakers.
Make that its former name, with the implementation today by the federation of a more manageable, condensed version of its moniker that still captures what it’s about: La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. As reported, a new logo has also been created.
Behind the decision to transform the name, explained Pascal Morand, the federation’s executive president, was the federation’s executive body. The committee is headed by federation president, Ralph Toledano, with as its members Morand, Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture; Bruno Pavlovsky, president of global fashion at Chanel; Guillaume de Seynes, executive vice president of Hermès International, and Francesca Bellettini, president and chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent.
The federation has under its umbrella three trade associations whose names will remain unchanged: the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, also presided over by Ralph Toledano; the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, headed by Pavlovsky; and the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine, led by Sidney Toledano.
Members of the federation also include non-French companies from countries including China, Japan, Italy, Belgium and South Korea.
Of the new name, Morand elaborated: “It was too long, and needed adapting for the 21st century. We wanted something that was clear, simple and contemporary and that reflects what we are.” The new name will not have an acronym, and will not be translated, he said. “We wanted to focus on having haute couture and fashion in the name, but that doesn’t mean it involves just any type of fashion, we will continue to focus on true creation.”
The story of the founding of the federation’s respective trade associations dates back to 1868, when Paris-based British designer Charles Frederick Worth created the Chambre Syndicale de la Confection et de la Couture Pour Dames et Fillettes. In 1911, the trade association became strictly couture-focused, shortening its name to the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. After World War II, it was changed once again to La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
The next change, explained Morand, came in 1973 when members of the Créateurs & Industriels, a venture co-founded by former federation president Didier Grumbach with Andrée Putman based on connecting designers with industrial players, joined efforts with a band of couturiers that had branched out into ready-to-wear, including Yves Saint Laurent, to form the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt à Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.
It was created under the aegis of Pierre Bergé, who remained president for 20 years. They also added a third trade association dedicated to men’s wear, or mode masculine. “I saw Pierre Bergé recently and he was saying how, to begin with, there were five couturiers and five designers on the calendar,” said Morand. “He remembered Pierre Balmain asking, ‘Who’s this Sonia Rykiel?’”
Issey Miyake was also part of Créateurs & Industriels, said Morand, adding of the federation’s new moniker. “You will notice that the word français [French] is no longer part of the name, there are two reasons for that: With haute couture being part of the name, it’s implicit, and another reason is that we have many members who are not French. We want to be international and will continue to have international members.”
Moran compared the open spirit of the federation to the international art scene in Paris in the early 20th century. “This is why we give so much importance to diversity and openness, and to emphasizing the strong international dimension of the fashion weeks of all of our member trade associations,” he said.