Born in Phnom-Penh, Cambodia in 1947, Jean-Jacques Picart has become one of the most influential consultants in fashion and haute couture.
17-year-old Picart who was then living in Dakar, Senegal, was unsure of what to do when he passed his Baccalaureate exam. He approached the Centre for Professional Orientation for advice. “La mode” was heavily recommended, although they suggested he consider the role of a publicist.
Picart left Dakar for Paris and attended a school recommended for publicists. As tuition was expensive, he did a range of odd jobs during his studies, working at places like SEHM, a menswear salon.
Picart soon started his own press office, which represented a number of French and foreign labels including Thierry Mugler, Emanuel Ungaro, Hermès, Kenzo, Chloé, Ferragamo and Jil Sander .
In 1980, reportedly out of boredom, Picart closed his publicity agency and became a freelance consultant. One of his clients was the Jean Patou couture house, which Picart arranged for Christian Lacroix to join. The first few years working with Patou were “painful and hard,” Picard told the Financial Times. He conceded that few Patou designs by Lacroix were sold.
After launching Christian Lacroix at Patou, Picart boldly advised Bernard Arnault , fashion’s financial czar, to start an haute couture line with Lacroix in 1986. A year later, with the support of LVMH, the Maison de Haute Couture Christian Lacroix was launched.
In 1999, Picart set up his own consultancy, JJP Conseil, specialising in fashion and luxury, where he advises on communication, image, development and design. In 2015, over 40 years in the industry, Picart announced his retirement from work, but said to Vogue.com, "I am sad to leave the family for now. But I doubt it will be forever."