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French and American Fashion Panel

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy.

What a pleasure to welcome you all tonight to Albertine for what is sure to be a captivating discussion on French and American fashion!

First of all, let me welcome a very special guest: Maria Vadillo, I am delighted and honored by your presence this evening. As vice-president of le Conseil regional de Bretagne, you work at the forefront of promoting French tourism and heritage. With your husband, Yves-Jean Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, you remind us that, like fashion, culture is most beautiful when balanced between tradition and innovation and celebrated both at home and abroad.

One week ago, New York Fashion Week (September 7-14) took over the city with wildly creative and intriguing new looks. The Parisian edition will kick off next week (September 26). So, we thought this would be the perfect time to host a conversation about French & American fashion!

The Institut Français de la Mode, and specifically, Executive Director Sylvie Ebel, who joins us tonight, approached us with the idea for this event and we immediately agreed to host!

We are very fortunate to be joined this evening by 6 highly visionary women, all experts in their fields, who will share their knowledge and perspectives on fashion.

First, I’d first like to give a warm welcome to Melissa Ceria, journalist and founder of Studio Ceria, who graciously accepted to moderate tonight’s talk! Melissa Ceria curates and moderates various speaker series for cultural institutions and luxury companies. She is also the Editorial Director of Marriott International’s Luxury Council and a consultant at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York, where she curates their Art de Vivre talks.

Mary Davis, Anne Fontaine, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, Florence Mûller and Valerie Steele: welcome!

Melissa will introduce each of our guests in a moment, but before I give her the mic, I would like to reiterate how fortunate we are tonight: this panel offers a broad vision of the industry, as each of our guests has a different relationship to the world of Fashion: sitting before us are designers, curators, historians, writers, and university specialists, different in professions but united in their love of fashion.

Through this event, we hope to shed light on the importance of artistic education in the fashion world. As with all sectors of design, schools, universities, and museums enable us to think deeply about the meaning and function of the objects and structures that shape our world and our behavior—in this case, clothing and style. Indeed, fashion is much more than a luxurious hobby: it is a part of our artistic universe.

I invite you to discover other opportunities to explore the world of fashion around New York City: visit Force of Nature, an exhibition currently on view at FIT which examines how the beauty and complexity of the natural world has inspired fashion designers for centuries,  and don’t miss the exhibition, Is fashion Modern, opening at MomA on October 1st.

This conversation is a great occasion to celebrate links between French and American fashion.

Historically, Americans have always admired French elegance. Today, interestingly, the United States has become a hotbed for French fashion experimentation: many young French designers and fashion connoisseurs have moved to the U.S., especially here in New York.

Before giving the floor to Melissa Ceria, I would like to give a special thanks to Marie Laurence de Chaunac, President of the Alumni USA at Institut Français de la Mode, who put so much hard work and passion into this project!

I would also like to thank AirFrance for its sponsorship, as well as the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, as this event couldn’t have happened without their support.