Paris

Passion for Fashion

The LouvrePARIS, Mar 2, 2004/ FW/ — Twelve emerging designers showed on the first day of the Paris season and in all of the shows, Didier Grumbach, President of the Chambre Syndicale, France’s fashion governing body, was in attendance.

A French gentleman who has a dignified bearing, Didier Grumbach is in-charge of running the Paris fashion seasons – haute couture, menswear and women’s ready-to-wear.

I don’t have an idea of what his job description is, but I know one thing, Didier Grumbach supports young designers and he has a true passion for fashion.

During the season, whether it is haute couture, menswear or women’s ready-to-wear, the President of the Chambre Syndicale is always around, making himself available to the fashion houses, the fashion press and retail buyers.

He is also so approachable that the only thing you have to do if you want to see him or interview him, is ask one of the staff at the Chambre Syndicale and they will put you in his calendar.

At the shows, Mr. Grumbach gives a quiet smile to everyone. In his front row seat, he is always attentive and looks at the collection as seriously as any fashion journalist and retail buyer does.

And if he knows you or recognizes your face, he will greet you when he sees you at the shows.

Like today, when there was no lunch break in between shows. The first show started at 9:30 in the morning, and there was a show scheduled every hour. All of us who are covering the season take the bus from venue to venue.

At 4:00 PM when the bus pulled up at the BETC Euro RSCG for the Gaspard Yurkeivich show, almost everyone was beyond hungry.

An editor from Essence Magazine and I decided to go to a small restaurant in the area to grab a sandwich before the show started.

Didier Grumbach was there too! Like us, he had not any lunch and was also trying to grab something to eat before the show!

When he saw us, he nodded and smiled. I smiled back and said, “I hope the show does not start soon because I need to eat something or I will faint.”

Mr. Grumbach good-naturedly told me that I would have time to eat because the photographers are still setting up. (We could see from across the street that the photographers were still arriving and going inside the venue.)

“Good shows today,” I said after ordering my sandwich.

“So far it has been good,” Mr. Grumbach answered. “Let’s hope it keeps on going that way until the last show.”

As the Essence Editor and I were quietly eating our sandwich, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Mr. Grumbach saying that he was going to go in the venue and that he would see us there.

As he was crossing the street, I felt admiration and respect for Didier Grumbach. He is a true gentleman and does both the French government and the French people proud. He represents the French very well.

I know that last December, he was just reelected as President of the Chamber Syndicale. I hope that his reign as President continues for years to come.