Dame Natalie Sara Massenet the journalist who formed the hugely successful luxury fashion site ‘Net-a-porter’ has welcomed her first son at the age of 52.
The fashion entrepreneur announced the happy news of Jet Everest’s arrival on Instagram, revealing he’d been born with the ‘most generous help’ of a surrogate.
She already has two daughters Isabella, 17, and Ava, 11, from her first marriage, but Jet is her first baby with her Swedish photographer partner Erik Torstensson, 38.
The businesswoman who founded the luxury fashion site in 2000 has amassed an estimated fortune of £950 million from her efforts.
The only child of an English mother and an American father, Mrs Massenet was raised in Paris and moved to Los Angeles to live with her father at the age of 11.
But it was her first husband that tempted her to London where she is now based.
Dame Natalie Sara Massenet the journalist who formed the hugely successful luxury fashion site ‘Net-a-porter’ has welcomed her first son at the age of 52
Jet is Natalie’s first son with her second husband, photographer Erik Torstensson, 38.
Mrs Massenet met her first husband Arnaud Massenet, a French hedge fund manager, at Notting Hill carnival in the early 1990s and promptly moved from Los Angeles to London to be with him. They were engaged inside a month.
Three years later, while working as a fashion editor at Tatler magazine, she had a bright idea for a website where women could find and buy their favourite luxury brand wherever they lived in the world.
Widely regarded as changing the way women shop for high-end fashion and couture items, Mrs Massenet’s website has become a global phenomenon valued at £350million.
When she created the business more than a decade ago, online shopping was in its infancy, but the Net-a-Porter site now has millions of visitors a month.
Natlie was working for Tatler magazine when she came up with the idea for Net-a-Porter
Natalie and Erik pose proudly with her Dame Commander Insignia, after it was presented to her by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in February 2016
Natalie Massenet, founder and chairman of Net-A-Porter Ltd, had a bright idea for a website where women could find and buy their favourite luxury brand wherever they lived in the world
In happier times. Natalie with her ex-husband Arnaud Massenet at celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Net-a-Porter
The mother-of-three pictured at The Fashion Awards 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall
In interviews, she credited her first husband with giving her the support and confidence to set up the business.
He helped her to raise the £1.2million investment capital for an project analysts said was doomed.
She set the business up on the kitchen table at her Chelsea studio flat with just two employees.
Erik Torstensson and Natalie Massenet: Fashion power couple
Swedish-born Erik Torstensson is the co-founders of the Saturday Group, a multi-media fashion marketing agency.
The couple met when his company was repsonsible for the design and branding strategy of Mr Porter – Net-a-Porter’s spin off site for men – even thinking up the witty title for the business.
It was revealed they were dating in late 2011, the same year Natalie split from her husband and a year after Erik’s engagement broke down.
Despite being brought up on a farm, Erik knew he wanted a career in graphic design from an early age.
He attended the exclusive Bergh advertising school in Stockholm, 40 miles from his home near Uppsala.
In 1999, he was spotted by Tyler Brule, the author and entrepreneur who launched Wallpaper magazine, and who persuaded Erik to come and work for him in London.
Eventually Erik set up The Saturday Group with fellow Swede Jens Grede who aslo worked at Wallpaper, and described it as ‘a creative agency… for the luxury and media industries’.
The pair spent a brief stint as editors-in-chief of Man About Town, before launching Industrie magazine in 2009.
The biannual publication is a bible chronicling fashion’s most important industry figures.
And the multi-talented pair are also co-founders of LA-based Frame Denim, which centres around innovative washes and cutting-edge fabrics.
The entrepreneur with her partner Swedish photographer Erik Torstensson, 38. The couple have just welcomed their first child together
She reminisced: ‘I borrowed a creaky laptop from my husband, went into the web and never came back.’
At the time, she was pregnant with her first child, but her enthusiasm made up for her lack of experience.
‘I was so naïve,’ she admitted. ‘I picked up a brochure from Barclays Bank that said “Are you an entrepreneur?” and took it home with me. Then my husband explained the basics of capitalism.’
Natalie Massenet attending Vogue 100: A Century Of Style at the National Portrait Gallery
In April 2010, she sold a £50million stake in Net-a-Porter to the Swiss luxury goods business Richemont, owner of Cartier and Montblanc but stayed on as executive chairman.
Five years lateer, the site announced it was merging with Italian online fashion group YOOX and in September 2015, Dame Natalie announced she was stepping down from the Net-a-Porter group.
She has been chairman of the British Fashion Council since 2013, and earlier this year she announced a new role as non-executive co-chairman of Farfetch.