THE LOCATION: I descended upon the rainy Georgetown University campus this week for an event at the McDonough School of Business with Pamela Baxter, President and CEO of LVMH and President of Christian Dior. It was awe inspiring to be in the presence of a woman who started her career off as a retail makeup artist and rose to the top of the food chain by following her passions, interests and skills. During the event she spoke of the many innovative things she championed, from crafting the first licensing agreement at Estee Lauder to changing the literal façade of the Christian Dior brand on all scales. She spoke at length on carrying the legacy and image of Christian Dior into the modern era, and the challenges of keeping a brand that hinges on femininity, elegance, and delicateness relevant in a modern, global marketplace.
While the business school students in attendance asked away at questions of fashion business strategy and development of foreign markets, I was more so interested in Pamela Baxter’s career advice and personal journey. This is why I asked her:
As a female executive in your elevated position, what challenge, if any, is there that you face on an everyday basis?
Pamela Baxter responded by saying that moving from Estee Lauder to a global Christian Dior and LVMH position, the range of her leadership shifted dramatically. She began to manage many high level executives that existed and functioned outside of the American culture. Learning their culture of operation, as well as the individual personalities and nuances of her colleagues was a layered experience that she is still working on to this day.
As high pressure as her position is, it is something that she dreamt of for a long time. Rising to the helm of a makeup, perfume, and couture fashion behemoth was no easy task. She will tell you that none of this is possible without taking chances. In fact, she would tell you to “leap first and look for the safety net later.” This is what she did when she sold the car her mother had given her to buy a plane ticket from Los Angeles to New York to transition her career to the much needed next level leaving her very first job. To that effect, she will also tell you that “making no decision is the worst decision you can make.”
THE LOOK: This poppy red, ruffle peplum number is by Sandro-Paris. I found it during a last ditch effort in Milan, Italy to walk away with a dress from the iconic city. I say “last ditch” because it was surprisingly difficult, in a city of models, to find a dress with a petite fit. Although it is not Italian, I love this red dress because it is chic, adult, and still feminine. It is a statement piece in and of itself. This is why I paired it with subtle pieces.
The dangling pearl earrings were a birthday gift from a best friend. They are a perfect work wear essential to play dress up without going overboard. The nude patent leather BCBG pumps elongate any set of bare legs. And the Michael Kors watch is here again, but I am ready to say, that it never leaves my wrist in the first place.
This shoot was done post-event, outside of Healy Hall on the campus of Georgetown University.
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