On December 10, Joan Carl, Chairman of D. Porthault, joined a select group of women as she became a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, one of the highest levels of recognition granted by the government of France.
Joan Carl of Washington, D.C. has just been honored by the French government as a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (French Legion of Honor) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Although the honor is typically presented to French residents, other American women who have been granted the honor include former U.S. Ambassador Pamela Harriman, entertainer Barbara Streisand, and dancer Josephine Baker.
As it is one of the highest levels of recognition granted by the French government, President Sarkozy said that he was personally involved in selecting Carl to receive the award because of her service and commitment to France. France’s ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, who was at the event, noted that the award represented “the President’s high esteem for Carl’s very special contribution to the advancement of the relationship between France and the United States.”
The award was created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France by persons of great merit, explained Vimont. After accepting the prestigious award, Carl commented, “Thomas Jefferson said, ‘France is every man’s second country.’ How right he was. The culture, camaraderie, beauty, and elegance of France are unmatched anywhere in the world. And so tonight I am especially humbled that, with all France has given me over the years, my true second country offers still more—its highest and most respected honor, the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. I accept it with the deepest gratitude.”
Since taking over leadership of D. Porthault, Carl has brought one of the great French home textiles houses back to life. Under Carl, the company has opened a new flagship store on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, as well as a new boutique on Park Avenue in New York City; both have been critical and financial successes. D. Porthault opened a luxury linens boutique at Bergdorf Goodman in 2008 and plans are currently underway for a new store in the Mayfair neighborhood of London.