Fashion royalty descends on Elysee Palace as Emmanuel Macron mingles with designers to boost France's fashion sector

Designers from France’s Jean Paul Gaultier to Lebanon’s Elie Saab descended on the Elysee Palace for dinner on Monday, as Macron sought to further boost one of the country’s most profitable sectors with an appeal to brands from far and wide.

Reuters March 06, 2018 10:41:57 IST
Fashion royalty descends on Elysee Palace as Emmanuel Macron mingles with designers to boost France's fashion sector
Fashion royalty descends on Elysee Palace as Emmanuel Macron mingles with designers to boost Frances fashion sector

File image of Emmanuel Macron. AP

The gala, coinciding with Paris Fashion Week, was the latest effort by 40-year-old Macron, who came to power last May, to try and lure entrepreneurs with a pro-business agenda, weeks after a summit with business executives at Versailles.

“I want to say the same to those who create: choose France,” Macron said, addressing guests such as Christian Louboutin, famed for his stiletto shoes, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton.

“My deepest wish is that creators, whether they come from India, Japan, Africa, the United States or China, will consider coming to (create) in our country, and that we get everything in order to make that work easy for them,” he said.

Macron’s wife Brigitte, also present, wore one of her favoured French brands, Louis Vuitton.

 Paris’ catwalk shows and France’s broader fashion industry are already huge motors for growth and jobs, at a time when the government is trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate of nearly 9 percent.

One study, by the French Fashion Institute, IFM, puts the sector ahead of autos and aerospace put together by annual sales, which hover at 150 billion euros ($184.8 billion) when including areas like jewels, watches, cosmetics and perfumes.

Yet some designers said public cheerleading was welcome, even if Paris-based luxury conglomerates like LVMH and Kering, owner of Saint Laurent, have already helped put France squarely on the map.

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