“I have been in this industry for 35 years,” he said, revealing that he accepted the position out of a sense of duty. “I started in New York, and Seventh Avenue informed my business sense; it contributed in part to my success. Even though I was in Europe for 30 years, I always felt very linked to [this country] as a designer. I’ve always taken a very American approach… the thing that I bring to the CFDA, and which Diane also has, is that I think of myself as an international designer; I think from a global perspective. I’ve been shocked by how inward-looking we’ve become.”
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A who’s who of American designers has chaired the country’s governing fashion body, including Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, and Perry Ellis. Von Furstenberg has held the position for 13 years. While it will be sad to see her go, she is deeply supportive of Ford. “I am so excited that Tom Ford has agreed to come and lead the CFDA,” she said in a statement. “American Fashion could not wish for a better visionary to further grow its impact in the global landscape. Tom is a role model for all of us, and we are very lucky to have him as the next chairman of the CFDA.”
“Diane is incredibly glamorous,” Ford gushed. “It’s incredible what she gives to everyone; there’s a visibility to what she does in addition to the real true work. Diane will be a hard act to follow as — I don’t know how to phrase this — she is a force. She pushes to get things done, which you have to do. She’s hard to say no to, but then [laughs] I have that too.”
Ford will assume his role next January.