Whoa, according to a Reuters report France's Industry Minister, Christian Estrosi, the Government is proposing the creation of a fashion bank to hand out state guarantees for loans to struggling designers and artisans.
The fashion industry has been hit hard by the global spending slump with high-profile victims including Christian Lacroix and Cacharel. However, the Government view the industry as part of the nation's cultural heritage. France's fashion industry employs 125,000.
And if that isn't enough the proposal should sit well with France's 'First Lady'.
Estrosi explained he wanted Paris to remain the world's capital of fashion. “We need people to share the risks." The 'people' to whom the Minister refers are, presumably, the taxpayers. The new bank should be ready by end March.
The Government is also considering handing out exemptions to the 35-hour week to staff who had to put in long hours before fashion shows. And, if that isn't enough a plan is being floated to create a school of design and creativity.
The government is keen to help top brands such as Hermes, Dior and others preserve "Made in France" tags crucial for their image and high prices.
However, all this rather begs the question of who – or what – will approve the loan applications? The US experience of preserving the financial and car industries is none too encouraging. However, a hot political issue in France right now are proposals to ban the wearing of the burka. While they're at it why not just pass a law prohibiting anyone wearing anything other than a Mao suit.
Well, probably not, but any design approved by a committee of bureaucrats should be interesting: it'll certainly be hugely over-budget, late in coming to market, and available in one size and one colour only.