Massenet leaves BFC after five years, will stay on exec committee

Natalie Massenet is leaving her post as chairman of the British Fashion Council after five years at the body that works to promote UK designers at home and abroad.


Natalie Massenet is stepping down as BFC chairman at the end of 2017 - BFC


The fashion entrepreneur and Net-A-Porter founder will leave the BFC at the end of this year but will stay on its executive committee. In fact her five-year tenure is longer than is usual for the chairman’s post with the regular three-year term having been extended as Massenet committed to completing a BFC project, an insider told Fashion Network on Thursday.

The BFC has not yet suggested any names as potential replacements in the chairman’s role.

Massenet was given an early goodbye with a surprise party in London this week to set the seal on a half-decade in which she drove through investment and sponsorship projects, encouraged initiatives to boost young designers, and steered London Fashion Week, raising its profile and attendance globally. 

The event has seen a number of big names choosing to show in London in recent years (including Armani and Tommy Hilfiger) , a complete turnaround froth picture earlier this century as concerns surfaced that its very survival was at risk due to its dates being squeezed by the expansion of other, larger fashion weeks.

Natalie Massenet is seen as one of the biggest influencers not just in British fashion but globally, having founded Net-A-Porter in 2000 and helping force an often-reluctant luxury sector to embrace digital sales. She also boosted luxury outlet e-tail with he launch of discount site Outnet in 2009 and then extended the Net-A-Porter concept to menswear six years ago when Mr Porter debuted.

She grew the business into a leading luxury e-tailer, bringing Richemont on board as a major investor but left following the merger with Yoox just over two years ago.

Following the end of her non-compete phase, she was named non-executive chairman of major YNAP rival Farfetch earlier this year and is seen as a key figure as the company prepares for a rumoured $5 billion IPO.

In recognition of her work in promoting UK fashion and building a retail channel virtually from scratch she was awarded and OBE in 2009 and made a Dame (the female equivalent of knighthood) in 2016.

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