Nathalie Dufour

Nathalie Dufour

ANDAM

What were you doing prior to founding the ANDAM?
As reminded by Pierre Bergé, who awarded me the Legion of Honour at the end of the last ANDAM Fashion Award ceremony, I studied art history and cultural management. I also set up a fashion-dedicated department at the French Ministry of Culture. From there, I created the association, funded by the ministries of Culture and Industry through the DEFI, that does a lot for young designers, in research and development and education.
What were the steps that led to the ANDAM creation, in 1989?
I’ve always been passionated about fashion and young designers. I thought there wasn’t an organization to support and guide them. That was the analysis at the beginning of the 90s. I approached Pierre Bergé and offered him the position of president of this organization. From there, we set up a board of directors with institutions like Les Arts Décoratifs, the IFM (French Institute of Fashion), the DÉFI and Ministries of Industry and Culture. I report our progress, actions and missions to the board. We really work together.
1989, the ANDAM holds its very first Fashion Award. Martin Margiela was one of the first winners. What impression did the designer leave on you at the time?
First of all, I created a jury of professionals for the annual Fashion Award ceremony. We were working based on application file, at that time. There was neither a presentation to the jury, nor an interview. Martin Margiela’s project, who just hold his first runway show in Paris, really had us saying ‘something’s happening’ in terms of innovation and creation. The idea was to honor his creativity. Back then, we weren’t big on management.
The renaming to Maison Margiela, John Galliano's creative director appointment: what do you think of the brand, today?
I had the opportunity to meet the OTB Group founder and CEO Renzo Rosso, who bought Maison Martin Margiela in 2002 — and who was in the last ANDAM Fashion Award jury. Only The Brave got in our board of financial partners. We’ve been working with them for a few years now.
Renzo is passionated by creativity. He really keeps an eye on designers. I find it very interesting for a brand to remove the name of the namesake founder and designer, when he is no longer part of the House. Just like for Saint Laurent Paris. I think Maison Margiela became a real fashion brand.
Christophe LEMAIRE (1990), Jean Touitou / A.P.C (1992, born in 1987), Jeremy Scott (2000), Anthony Vaccarello (2011), AMI Alexandre Mattiussi (2013), Léa Peckre, Pigalle Paris (2015)…: the ANDAM Fashion Award records are impressive! How do you notice rising designers before they blow up?
We first start with a very global sourcing. Then, the jury comes into play. Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, the CEO of Chloé, chaired the 2016 ANDAM Fashion Award jury. He also mentors the main Fashion Award winner. All the members bring in the nominees. It shows that these designers are very popular among the jury.
Wanda Nylon (Grand Prize), Tomasini Paris (Accessories) and Atlein (First Collections) won. Can you take us back to the finals, from the finalist's; presentations to the winners announcement?
First and foremost, I want to state that, with the hype surrounding designers and how well-organized they are in terms of management, I think the ANDAM Fashion Award standards are really high. This year, all the nominees were excellent, to the point that no one surpassed the others. From Tim Coppens to AALTO, Koché… they all deserved to win and were highly in demand by the jury.
The ANDAM Fashion Award is still a competition. But It’s interesting that our nominees are very generous in their presentations, and they take something out of it as well. They face the CEOs of luxury groups and Paris-based industrials who invest, and a panel of experts with a very sharp view.
And even if they don’t win, designers know they earn recognition from the jury.
Talking about the jury, the 2016 ANDAM Fashion Award jury included, among others, Pierre-Yves Roussel (LVMH), Renzo Rosso (OTB), Francois-Henri Pinault (Kering), Pierre Bergé, Yasmine Sewell (Style.com), Emmanuelle Alt (Vogue Paris), Imran Amed (BoF) and yourself. How did you come up with the winners? Did you vote and/or debate?
We did both! First, there was a lunch cocktail right before the winners announcement, allowing the 2016 nominees to meet members of the jury and answer strategy questions.
After that, designers individually face the jury for a 10-minute presentation about their artistic universe but also the direction they intend to take their brands to, in terms of strategy and development, that’s very important.
Then, we debate and secretly vote on ballots. So there’s a bit of everything: presentations, debates and votes.
"The Chanels and Diors only differ from younger brands in investments. The ANDAM allows them to have liquid assets to exist. That’s what the association works for, and that’s why I work with these luxury groups that invest in the future of the industry." [Nathalie Dufour]
In 27 years, has the ANDAM Fashion Award jury ever been unanimous (or have you ever come close to) on a winner?
Never. Not even close. Based on standards set by the nominees, It’s just impossible. It only could happen if we had one genius and a bunch of bad candidates.
When they are all brilliant like they have been this year, we can’t be unanimous on one nominee. We pick winners democratically, by majority. Plus, we are quite a lot of jurors and are very open-minded.
Do designers still need to have a classic path — by attending top fashion schools and working at big houses before establishing themselves — to prosper in this industry?
Let’s take Stéphane Ashpool of Pigalle, and Jacquemus! These are two self-taught designers. One doesn’t have to have a fashion house experience where you learn rigour, working in studios and management. You can also be in a more spontaneous process.
All these new business models have an amazing strength: It’s one designer who’s up on everything, from communication to sales to growth. We are witnessing in this generation, the rise of a new, innovative business model. And It can work!
What about the old guard? Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, etc : how are they aging?
These houses are not an old guard really, as they all appoint young designers as creative directors. Balenciaga got Demna Gvasalia, that’s not old guard. Same with Saint Laurent and Anthony Vaccarello. And even Chanel, led Karl Lagerfeld’s excellence and genius, isn’t old guard.
The Chanels and Diors only differ from younger brands in investments. The ANDAM allows them to have liquid assets to exist. That’s what the association works for, and that’s why I work with these luxury groups that invest in the future of the industry.
Chanel, Kering or LVMH-owned houses aren’t managed like younger brands looking for a spot. They are like start-up companies. Some of them are raising money. They can’t compete with groups that are 20 years in.
How can one of the brands the ANDAM promotes reach that level?
Let’s take another example with Alexandre Mattiussi. Business-wise, AMI strongly positioned itself very quickly.
There are in France tools and investments that can speed up the growth of these young brands, and I feel like they can get to it way faster than several few years ago when this revival wasn’t happening.
The fashion industry still holds the « Made in France » stamp to high regard. How difficult is it for to make in France, especially for a brand on the rise?
The Made in France label is very strong. We have skills that the whole world is envious of, that’s a fact. I’ve been to New York, London, etc. Brands wished they had access to our savoir-faire. France has some amazing assets. It’s very important to value them and to offer our young brands the opportunity to work within this excellence pool.
The only Made in France issue is that It’s quite expensive. But It’s worth it if you do luxury, and put brands in a highly attractive position.
If the ANDAM Fashion Award was to be televised, who would you pick as host for the night? Performers?
Do they have to be French?
French or international, you decide!
I really can’t answer that question right off the bat, I’m sorry! We would have to seriously think about this one.
By Iggy NKo

Nathalie Dufour

ANDAM

What were you doing prior to founding the ANDAM?
As reminded by Pierre Bergé, who awarded me the Legion of Honour at the end of the last ANDAM Fashion Award ceremony, I studied art history and cultural management. I also set up a fashion-dedicated department at the French Ministry of Culture. From there, I created the association, funded by the ministries of Culture and Industry through the DEFI, that does a lot for young designers, in research and development and education.
What were the steps that led to the ANDAM creation, in 1989?
I’ve always been passionated about fashion and young designers. I thought there wasn’t an organization to support and guide them. That was the analysis at the beginning of the 90s. I approached Pierre Bergé and offered him the position of president of this organization. From there, we set up a board of directors with institutions like Les Arts Décoratifs, the IFM (French Institute of Fashion), the DÉFI and Ministries of Industry and Culture. I report our progress, actions and missions to the board. We really work together.
1989, the ANDAM holds its very first Fashion Award. Martin Margiela was one of the first winners. What impression did the designer leave on you at the time?
First of all, I created a jury of professionals for the annual Fashion Award ceremony. We were working based on application file, at that time. There was neither a presentation to the jury, nor an interview. Martin Margiela’s project, who just hold his first runway show in Paris, really had us saying ‘something’s happening’ in terms of innovation and creation. The idea was to honor his creativity. Back then, we weren’t big on management.
The renaming to Maison Margiela, John Galliano's creative director appointment: what do you think of the brand, today?
I had the opportunity to meet the OTB Group founder and CEO Renzo Rosso, who bought Maison Martin Margiela in 2002 — and who was in the last ANDAM Fashion Award jury. Only The Brave got in our board of financial partners. We’ve been working with them for a few years now.
Renzo is passionated by creativity. He really keeps an eye on designers. I find it very interesting for a brand to remove the name of the namesake founder and designer, when he is no longer part of the House. Just like for Saint Laurent Paris. I think Maison Margiela became a real fashion brand.
Christophe LEMAIRE (1990), Jean Touitou / A.P.C (1992, born in 1987), Jeremy Scott (2000), Anthony Vaccarello (2011), AMI Alexandre Mattiussi (2013), Léa Peckre, Pigalle Paris (2015)…: the ANDAM Fashion Award records are impressive! How do you notice rising designers before they blow up?
We first start with a very global sourcing. Then, the jury comes into play. Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, the CEO of Chloé, chaired the 2016 ANDAM Fashion Award jury. He also mentors the main Fashion Award winner. All the members bring in the nominees. It shows that these designers are very popular among the jury.
Wanda Nylon (Grand Prize), Tomasini Paris (Accessories) and Atlein (First Collections) won. Can you take us back to the finals, from the finalist's; presentations to the winners announcement?
First and foremost, I want to state that, with the hype surrounding designers and how well-organized they are in terms of management, I think the ANDAM Fashion Award standards are really high. This year, all the nominees were excellent, to the point that no one surpassed the others. From Tim Coppens to AALTO, Koché… they all deserved to win and were highly in demand by the jury.
The ANDAM Fashion Award is still a competition. But It’s interesting that our nominees are very generous in their presentations, and they take something out of it as well. They face the CEOs of luxury groups and Paris-based industrials who invest, and a panel of experts with a very sharp view.
And even if they don’t win, designers know they earn recognition from the jury.
Talking about the jury, the 2016 ANDAM Fashion Award jury included, among others, Pierre-Yves Roussel (LVMH), Renzo Rosso (OTB), Francois-Henri Pinault (Kering), Pierre Bergé, Yasmine Sewell (Style.com), Emmanuelle Alt (Vogue Paris), Imran Amed (BoF) and yourself. How did you come up with the winners? Did you vote and/or debate?
We did both! First, there was a lunch cocktail right before the winners announcement, allowing the 2016 nominees to meet members of the jury and answer strategy questions.
After that, designers individually face the jury for a 10-minute presentation about their artistic universe but also the direction they intend to take their brands to, in terms of strategy and development, that’s very important.
Then, we debate and secretly vote on ballots. So there’s a bit of everything: presentations, debates and votes.
"The Chanels and Diors only differ from younger brands in investments. The ANDAM allows them to have liquid assets to exist. That’s what the association works for, and that’s why I work with these luxury groups that invest in the future of the industry." [Nathalie Dufour]
In 27 years, has the ANDAM Fashion Award jury ever been unanimous (or have you ever come close to) on a winner?
Never. Not even close. Based on standards set by the nominees, It’s just impossible. It only could happen if we had one genius and a bunch of bad candidates.
When they are all brilliant like they have been this year, we can’t be unanimous on one nominee. We pick winners democratically, by majority. Plus, we are quite a lot of jurors and are very open-minded.
Do designers still need to have a classic path — by attending top fashion schools and working at big houses before establishing themselves — to prosper in this industry?
Let’s take Stéphane Ashpool of Pigalle, and Jacquemus! These are two self-taught designers. One doesn’t have to have a fashion house experience where you learn rigour, working in studios and management. You can also be in a more spontaneous process.
All these new business models have an amazing strength: It’s one designer who’s up on everything, from communication to sales to growth. We are witnessing in this generation, the rise of a new, innovative business model. And It can work!
What about the old guard? Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, etc : how are they aging?
These houses are not an old guard really, as they all appoint young designers as creative directors. Balenciaga got Demna Gvasalia, that’s not old guard. Same with Saint Laurent and Anthony Vaccarello. And even Chanel, led Karl Lagerfeld’s excellence and genius, isn’t old guard.
The Chanels and Diors only differ from younger brands in investments. The ANDAM allows them to have liquid assets to exist. That’s what the association works for, and that’s why I work with these luxury groups that invest in the future of the industry.
Chanel, Kering or LVMH-owned houses aren’t managed like younger brands looking for a spot. They are like start-up companies. Some of them are raising money. They can’t compete with groups that are 20 years in.
How can one of the brands the ANDAM promotes reach that level?
Let’s take another example with Alexandre Mattiussi. Business-wise, AMI strongly positioned itself very quickly.
There are in France tools and investments that can speed up the growth of these young brands, and I feel like they can get to it way faster than several few years ago when this revival wasn’t happening.
The fashion industry still holds the « Made in France » stamp to high regard. How difficult is it for to make in France, especially for a brand on the rise?
The Made in France label is very strong. We have skills that the whole world is envious of, that’s a fact. I’ve been to New York, London, etc. Brands wished they had access to our savoir-faire. France has some amazing assets. It’s very important to value them and to offer our young brands the opportunity to work within this excellence pool.
The only Made in France issue is that It’s quite expensive. But It’s worth it if you do luxury, and put brands in a highly attractive position.
If the ANDAM Fashion Award was to be televised, who would you pick as host for the night? Performers?
Do they have to be French?
French or international, you decide!
I really can’t answer that question right off the bat, I’m sorry! We would have to seriously think about this one.
By Iggy NKo