Sylvie Ebel awarded Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur
Sylvie Ebel, one of Europe’s great fashion educators, received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from Sidney Toledano, in a touching ceremony which brought together friends and family in the Institut Français de la Mode Thursday night.
Ebel, the executive director of IFM, France’s most prestigious fashion and luxury management college, was joined by industry leaders as diverse as Nadia Dhouib, CEO of Paco Rabanne, designer Christine Phung, fashion curator Olivier Gabet and the past two general managers of IFM, Xavier Romatet and Dominique Jacomet.
“I’ve known Sylvie for over 35 years. She has had a remarkable career and has been a vital force in this college, and a key architect of its success. Sylvie’s rigor, thoughtfulness, intelligence, competence and knowledge of IFM has been exceptional… It’s my great honor to award her this distinction,” said Toledano in his speech before an audience of some 200 guests inside IFM, a sprawling Seine-side campus, on quai d’Austerlitz in the 13th arrondissement.
A graduate of HEC, France’s major league business school, Ebel began her career at the department store Printemps, working with creative designers, before joining IFM, when the college was based on rue Jean Goujon.
While in her first decade, she met her future husband Pascal Morand, then the director of IFM, and now executive president of the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Ebel subsequently became executive director and was a key player in the fusion of IFM and the Chambre Syndicale’s fashion school, an important long-term project in France to develop a third level fashion college to rival those of London or New York.
In a charming back and forth, when Toledano described IFM as the best fashion school in France, Ebel interjected “best in the world.”
In her own speech, Ebel noted that after 31 years at IFM she took great pleasure in welcoming a new generation of students, often the children of graduates. Revealing that she first realized she had won the distinction in a text message from a French friend in Japan.
In some touching final words, she praised her husband for his “enormous wings that have enveloped her and her own family,” while gently lamenting the recent passing of her father, and the fact that her mother was too frail to attend the award ceremony.
“However, I shall wear this medal with great pride when I next go to see her,” she concluded, holding back tears.
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