Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large
Last night, a number of highly respected fashion news websites including Business of Fashion and WWD "learned" that Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet is to succeed Harold Tillman as Chairman of the British Fashion Council next year. Although there's been no official word yet from the Massenet or BFC camps, it seems like the deal is done. That means the future of British fashion will be entrusted to the hands of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. But who is Natalie Massenet? Tatler editor Kate Reardon used to work for the woman who set the bar for online designer shopping. She wrote a great profile piece for Vanity Fair which I thought I'd share with you here. I think it sums up rather nicely why everyone who cares about British fashion will be rather happy about this appointment.
|Natalie Massenet in Net-a-Porter's distribution centre in New Jersey(image from vanityfair.com)|
Here’s what else you should know about her: She’s obsessed with When Harry Met Sally and can work a quote from it into any conversation within three sentences. She has a passion for margaritas, which she weakly defends as simply a vehicle for salt (her favorite flavor). She sneezes when she eats mints, cries when she laughs, cuts her own hair, and has an almost adolescent capacity for sleep. “I’m the laziest person I know. I’m really binary,” she says. “When I’m working I have a hard time switching off, and when I’m not working I have a hard time thinking of ever wanting to work again. I guess I’m like a rock—if you don’t push me, I’ll just sit. The only time I can’t sleep is on a plane, when I am literally keeping it in the air with my brain.”
Massenet was born to an English mother (who was a Chanel model and movie stand-in for Sophia Loren) and an American father (a journalist and publicist who accompanied Brigitte Bardot on her first tour of the States and worked on Lawrence of Arabia). She spent her early years in Paris and then at 12 moved to Los Angeles, eventually graduating from U.C.L.A. and relocating to London to work for Tatler.
Natalie’s early career included some “really bad modeling in Japan” and working as a receptionist for John Hughes “during the Home Alone days, when I would frequently take naps at my desk after lunch,” she recalls. “I now have a soft spot for receptionists who stay awake.” Her success is due to dreaming big and believing that “the power of your thoughts can influence how events turn out. I’m a positive person—when bad things happen, I can see the silver lining. As a result I think I’m very lucky, even though I probably have as much bad luck as anyone else, and that translates into seeing opportunity.”
Natalie is slim and delicate, in a way that makes other women immediately feel galumphing, but, she says, “I always thought I looked kind of like Keith Richards, and sometimes I think I look like Michael Jackson in his mug shot. But as I think Keith Richards is pretty great-looking, I’m embracing that part of me. What I’m striving for is Audrey/Jackie, but what I end up with is Keith/Michael.” Like Keith/Michael, she rocks"