Why Natalie Massenet Is Such A Brilliant Appointment For The BFC!
This week, it was announced that Net-a-Porter group executive chairman Natalie Massenet has been appointed chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC), effective from January 1. She is to replace outgoing chairman Harold Tillman, who will leave at the end of the year.
I was hugely excited to hear this news, broken exclusively by the superb website Business Of Fashion (well done guys!) The appointment of Massenet is a big leap forward for the British Fashion Council, whose flagship event (London Fashion Week) has been criticised in the past for being less commercial than rival Fashion Week shows, namely New York, Paris and Milan.
Massenet founded designer website Net-a-Porter over a decade ago, when selling luxury goods online was virtually unheard of. A former WWD and Tatler journalist, she spotted a gap in the market after struggling to find any of her favourite designers on the internet. Sitting around her kitchen table one day, with a couple of other journalist friends, she came up with the concept for Net-a-Porter. It was no easy ride though and Massenet spent years knocking down the doors of designers to persuade them to see the commercial value in selling their goods online. Creating a luxury environment online, that rivals no other, she went on to launch discount online store The Outnet and most recently menswear site Mr Porter.
Alongside the brilliant mix of designers and fantastic edit, the Net-a-Porter group websites set themselves apart by their strong editorial and stunning photography. Laid out like glossy magazines (which you also happen to be able to purchase from!), Massenet combines brilliant looking editorial with beautiful product- a winning combination! She also paved the way for the marriage between high-end fashion and innovative technology and we’ve got a lot to thank her for.
Massenet is an absolute icon in my mind and for any budding female entrepreneurs out there she’s top of my list when it comes to business people I admire. So, what does this all mean for the British Fashion Council? Massenet will be working alongside the delightful BFC chief executive Caroline Rush (who I was a judge with recently), and who in her few years at the healm of the BFC has really helped push the body forward leaps and bounds – putting London Fashion Week back on the map. As 2012 was the year for Britain, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, 2013 now heralds the new beginning for many, the British Fashion Council included. Massenet’s accute sense of what is both beautiful and commercial will be hugely beneficial to the BFC and British fashion in general and I can’t wait to see what next season has in store for London Fashion Week!
IMAGE CREDIT: Vogue.co.uk