A woman who has the fashion world at her fingertips
Net-a-Porter’s founder, Natalie Massenet had a triumphal appearance in Carnegie Hall in November 2013 while accepting a Woman of the Year trophy from Glamour Magazine, when she went up the stairs, nearly tripping on her Alessandra Rich white lace gown before impaling the hem with her high-heeled sandals
The women has evolved from scrappy Internet pioneer, peddling designer clothes over pokey modems out of a small apartment in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood, to consoidting a power of unusual breadth over the fashion industry.
In 2010, Natalie Massenet sold a majority stake in Net-a-Porter to Swiss luxury copany Richemont, remaining executive chairwomen. Her brand extensions include the Outnet, a discount site, and Mr. Porter for men, all winging their wares to customers within days, sometimes hours, via branded black vans, and there will be soon Jet-a-Porter created.
A year ago, she was appointed chairwomen of the British Fashion Council, a role she described with crisp authorit as “thinking big picture, gross, domestic product, exports and jobs.”
To get an idea who that woman is, imagine Linda Dresner and Frieda Loehmann, both Brooks Brothers, Fern Mallis, and Anna Wintour rolled into one compact personage and you will get some ida of Massenet’s tentacular reach.
Christened Natalie Rooney, she was an only child. Her mother, Barbara Jones, was a model who worked for Chanel, whom her father, Robert Rooney picked up at the Café de Flore. He was a dashing correspondent for United Press International based in Madrid (E). He told his daughter stories about visiting Franco and also dancing on table with Ava Gardner. The family lived in Paris for a while. Her parents split, she went to live with her father in Los Angeles, California (USA)where she longed for social conformity, covering Ditto jeans in a rainbow of colours and plastic shoes. But she was told that she would become a leader. One summer, she visited her mother in France and came back with J. Taverniti sweartshirts, rolling the waves in America. In high school, at the University of California, joining the Delta gamma sorority, she was always standing out.
Her first job was at GHQ, a small men’s clothing store at Beverly Centre in Los Angeles. During a year she was modelling in Tokyo, she met pop singer Bryan Adams and Elvis Costello. She met John Hughes while working as a receptionist at Universal Studios. At Italian magazine Moda, she assisted an up-and-coming photographer Mario Testino. He demanded for the same afternoon a pink 1950s convertible, a skate-boarder, three young actresses, a surfer, a white poodle and a white horse in Topanga Canyon and she said O.K., I’ll sort that out!
She moved on to Women’s Wear Daily and then Tatler. In 1997 she wed Arnaud Massenet, an investment banker whom she had met at a carnival in Notting Hill. The marriage lasted 15 years and produced two daughters, Isabella and Ava.
Today she is the empress of the multimedia company Porter and knows everyone in the fashion world, and she remained authentic in every little bit. She is a style leader who means business.