Didier Grumbach may not be a household name, but in his 16 years as chairman of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode he was at the very epicentre of French, and global fashion.
Grumbach was perfectly qualified for the role he took up in 1998. Discreet, esteemed, hugely knowledgeable — Grumbach served as director of studies to the Institut Français de la Mode and published "Histoires de la Mode" in 1993 — and part of the Parisian scene for over 40 years, Monsieur Grumbach was responsible for managing the organising bodies of French fashion. He stepped down in the summer of 2014.
In 1966, Grumbach co-founded Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche, with Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Grumbach then went on to help establish Givenchy, working on the Givenchy Nouvelle Boutique with Hubert de Givenchy for five years, between 1968 and 1973. During this time he founded Créateurs & Industriels, a company intended to promote relationships between production companies and designers.
Créateurs & Industriels went on to play a key role in developing the careers of Jean-Paul Gaultier , Issey Miyake, Jean Charles de Castelbajac and Thierry Mulger. Grumbach founded and became chairman of Mugler, where he remained until his appointment as chairman of Yves Saint Laurent.
Grumbach’s tenure was defined by his vision for the future and the continuance of haute couture. “For 50 years, the quantitative criteria on which was granted the haute couture appellation were obsolete and unreachable,” Grumbach told AnOther magazine. “Since 2001 and the revision of these criteria, haute couture has been again what it was in the past, an observatory.” The revision under his guidance is an integral part of haute couture’s reemergence and current vivacity.
Speaking to AnOther, Grumbach said, “When you think about it, the fact that Armani or Versace come here to show their couture collections is in itself quite an achievement.”
In June 2014, Grumbach announced he was departing from his role as president at the Fédération Française de la Couture, but remained as an honourary president. From October 2014 to October 2017, he was president of the Société des Amis de Musée National d'Art Moderne.