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Comite Colbert Adds Five New Members

Godfrey Deeny
November 30th, 2009 @ 00:26 AM - Paris

The Comite Colbert has added five new members, the first time France’s leading luxury industry group has added so many brands at once.

Notable from the world of fashion, the Comite Colbert rolled out red carpet to Pierre Hardy, the most acclaimed French shoemaker of his generation.

La Comite Colbert also invited into its membership Les Editions Diane de Selliers, the Hotel du Palais, Lorenz Baumer and Pierre Herme. All five members were officially co-opted on November 26, though the news was only released on Monday.

“We thought it was the right time, given the current economic realities, to show our confidence in French luxury and its ability to renew itself,” said Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, President and CEO of the Comite Colbert.

Four of the new members are companies created within the last three decades. The fifth, the Hotel du Palais, a five-star palace hotel in Biarritz, helped swell the ranks of members outside Paris, a more recent goal of the Comite Colbert.

Maison Pierre Hardy, a ten-year-old company, is a maker of men’s and women’s shoes and luxury leather goods. He opened his first shop in the Palais Royal shopping arcade in Paris in 2003, then a second on Place du Palais Bourbon in February 2009. His footwear is characterized by tensile, architectural designs for women, and an ergonomic futurist aesthetic for men.

Also joining Comite Colbert are Lorenz Baumer, a master jeweler who launched his own house in 1992 in Place Vendome, the most prestigious square on the planet for luxury jewelry brands.

“The Comite Colbert is really the place where we can help and support the development of young brands. We do not want to just sit on past successes,” added Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes.

The past few weeks have been busy for the luxury grouping which last month inaugurated a major new website designed to allow Chinese Internet users a virtual tour of French luxury.

Named cColbert, the site is billed as a “journey in France,” by the Comite Colbert, which includes everything from fashion houses like Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chloe, brands like Hermes and Rochas, hotels such as Le Bristol, Plaza Athenee and George V three-star restaurant Taillevent.

The new additions bring to 75 the total membership, a move which required the Comite Colbert to get rid of a numerus clausus, or closed umber, of 70 in its official statute.

Diane de Selliers is a Paris based publishing house in 1981, which began publishing great classics of world literature, illustrated by legendary artists, such as the Aeneid, with images of antique frescoes and mosaics.

The Hotel du Palais is a famed luxury hotel located in Biarritz on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, which was once the holiday residence of Emperor Napoleon II of France. His wife and famed fashion plate, Empress Eugenie, was to transform the residence into a palace hotel late in the 19th century.

Pierre Herme Paris is a luxury convenience store chain created by a baker entrepreneur, who opened his first boutique in 1996. Today, the brand boasts seven stores in Tokyo, six in Paris, a production unit in Alsace and an online shop, a label whose aim is to offer “all gourmet palates a unique experience in the world of tastes, sensations and pleasures.”

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