Elisa Sednaoui’s life has spanned both industries and continents. Of Italian, French and Egyptian descent, the stunning brunette spent her youth between Europe and Egypt. She has modeled for some of the biggest labels in fashion (she was also one of Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld’s muses), and has both acted in and directed films. But in the last several years, her focus has turned to philanthropy and the nonprofit organization she founded to bring after-school programs to young people in Italy and Egypt. All of these life experiences have led to her new role: co-chair of the just-launched CFDA Fashion Trust, a charity that works to support U.S.-based fashion designers through its chapters in L.A. and New York. “There is so much talent in American fashion that needs to be supported properly, and—specifically in the context of L.A.—there is work that needs to be done in terms of supporting local production,” says Sednaoui, whose godfather is Christian Louboutin.
The new role comes at the perfect time: Sednaoui and her gallerist-turned-real estate-magnate husband, Alex Dellal, and their two young sons recently made the move from London to the City of Angels. The U.S. Fashion Trust expands off the success of the U.K. Fashion Trust, which was created in partnership with the British Fashion Council in 2011 by Tania Fares (who will serve as the other L.A. co-chair). “What I particularly like about the trust is that it’s not born to find new talent, but, instead, to support brands who have been in business a minimum of three years,” says Sednaoui, who met Fares through her sister-in-law, Charlotte Dellal (aka shoe and bag designer Charlotte Olympia). Designers will be invited to submit applications annually, with the winners receiving both financial grants and mentorships. With Los Angeles’ place in the fashion world firmly set in the last several years, now is an ideal time for the Fashion Trust to help the city’s smaller designers flourish. “L.A. is a huge creative hub, so it doesn’t surprise me designers come here to be inspired and end up staying,“ says Sednaoui. “There is a huge pool of talent here.”
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