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France names envoy to protect fashion industry

France's government named a special envoy Friday to help shore up the haute couture and ready-to-wear industries, as fashion retail struggles through particularly tough times.
/ Source: The Associated Press

France's government named a special envoy Friday to help shore up the haute couture and ready-to-wear industries, as fashion retail struggles through particularly tough times.

Author and film critic Elisabeth Quin will help "protect" French fashion knowledge and creations and act as a "permanent link" between the government and fashion executives, according to a statement from Industry Minister Christian Estrosi's office.

The statement mentions upcoming government "initiatives" for the fashion industry but doesn't describe them. It is unclear whether that means bailout plans or other state investment in the fashion industry.

Retail sales across the United States and Europe have been hit by the economic crisis, which has sent the luxury industry reeling. French couture icon Christian Lacroix launched insolvency proceedings this year.

Even before the crisis, France's couture industry was struggling to attract new generations of artisans to do exacting, low-paid work in cramped ateliers hand-stitching the swaths of shimmering sequins or the bursts of silk-petaled roses that go into a couture gown.