THE LATEST APPOINTMENTS: CHRISTIE’S, RICHEMONT & FERRARI

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Nicolas Ghesquière and Balenciaga will part ways at the end of November (Image: Giovanni Giannoni, WWD / Condé Nast / Corbis).

The Latest Appointments at Tom Ford, Walpole, Alberta Ferretti, Richemont, Orient-Express & Vertu, with exits at Balenciaga, Gilt Groupe, Azzaro & Cacharel.

After 15 years with PPR, Nicolas Ghesquière and Balenciaga have reached a “joint decision to end their working relationship,” effective Nov. 30. CEO Isabelle Guichot told WWD a successor would be named “as soon as we’re ready,” and that the brand already has a short list of candidates. Over the weekend Christopher Kane was rumoured to take the top spot, something he has since denied to WWD.

Over at Azzaro, creative director Mathilde Castello Branco has stepped down from her role after just over a year. “The House of Azzaro and Mathilde Castello Branco are moving forward in different directions,” explained a statement from the brand. “Azzaro will shortly be announcing her successor.”

At Cacharel, CEO Pascal d’Halluin has confirmed his exit, also after less than one year in the role. According to WWD, the executive is leaving by mutual agreement with the French label’s founder and president Jean Bousquet following his trial period.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari, has resigned his position as chairman of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, Europe’s first private operator of high-speed trains. “My growing professional commitments force me to step back now that the company is fully operational,” Montezemolo explained to Reuters. “I will continue to contribute to the success of this company, as shareholder and board member.”

Finally Gilt Group’s board and co-founder Kevin Ryan have “agreed about two months ago that Ryan should step aside in favour of a new CEO with strong operations and e-commerce skills.” The to-be-named replacement will be the company’s third CEO in two years, and is expected to steer the eventual launch of an IPO.

Marc Spiegler, Director, Art Basel

Marc Spiegler has been appointed to oversee Art Basel events in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida & Hong Kong, as the organisation re-arranges its leadership team. Mr. Spiegler will chair a four-member executive committee including a director of new initiatives, director Asia, and a director of resources and finance who will be named in the near future.

Source: Gallerist
Kamel Ouadi, Managing Director, Christie’s

Kamel Ouadi has joined famed auction house Christie’s as international managing director. Mr. Ouadi most recently served at Louis Vuitton as chief digital officer/chief creative officer, where he was responsible for the conception and launch of NOWNESS.com

Source: LinkedIn
Jean-Guillaume Prats, CEO, Estates & Wines

Jean-Guillaume Prats will join LVMH-owned Estates & Wines effective February 2013. Mr. Prats will be based in Paris, and will be a board member of the LVMH Comité Opérationnel. Since 2011, Prats has been chairman of the board of Domaines Reybier and Château Cos d’Estournel.

Source: Decanter
Eddy Cue, Board, Ferrari

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP Internet software and services has joined the board of Ferrari. Mr. Cue currently oversees the iTunes Store, the App Store and the iBookstore, as well as Siri, Maps, iAd and Apple’s iCloud services.

Source: New Car Net
Christophe de Pous, CEO, Gucci North America

Effective January 1, Christophe de Pous will assume responsibility for Gucci North America. Mr. De Pous has served as president and CEO of Gucci Japan since September 2009, and replaces Lauren Lendrum, who left the position in April.

Source: Styleite
Cristina Egal, Managing Director, Lorenz Bäumer

Cristina Egal has been named the first managing director of Lorenz Bäumer, reporting to Bäumer, the president, founder and creative force behind the brand. Most recently, Ms. Egal operated an eponymous communications agency and boasted such clients as BNP Paribas, Sodexo, Servair and Fondation Claude Pompidou.

Source: Fashion Snoops
John Scott, CEO, Orient-Express

John Scott will become president and CEO of Orient-Express hotels, after serving as CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts for over eight years. He replaces Paul White, the former president and CEO of Orient-Express Hotels, who resigned from the company and from the Board last year.

Source: Travel Mole
Natalie Ratabesi, Creative Director, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti will hand over the creative direction of the Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti collection to Natalie Ratabesi, who most recently served as senior creative director at Ralph Lauren. The British designer and graduate from Central Saint Martins College will make her debut for the brand with the autumn/winter 2013 collection.

Source: Fashion United
Bernard Fornas, Richard Lepeu, Co-CEOs, Richemont

Richemont has appointed two longstanding employees as joint chief executives, in a bid to help founder and controlling shareholder Johann Rupert steer the luxury goods group through a period of slowing sales growth in its important Asian markets. Cartier chief Bernard Fornas and deputy chief executive Richard Lepeu will take over from Rupert as CEO in April 2013.

Source: Reuters
Eva Taub, CEO, Robert Clergerie

Robert Clergerie has appointed Eva Taub as CEO, following tenure as head of Christian Dior Couture’s leather division at LVMH. The Stanford and Harvard Business School alum previously launched Isotoner in Europe, prior to which she served as a Merrill Lynch financial advisor in New York and Hong Kong.

Source: Fashion Week Daily
Jerome Cheung, CEO Asia Pacific, Tom Ford

Former Gucci Group executive Jerome Cheung, has been named to succeed Regina Lam as chief executive officer at Tom Ford, for the Asia-Pacific area. The position is based in Hong Kong and Cheung will be reporting to Tom Mendenhall, vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of the company since 2006.

Source: Fashion Mag
Anssi Vanjoki, Chairman, Vertu

Luxury phone maker Vertu has selected long-time Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki as its non-executive chairman following an ownership change. Vanjoki, who spent 20 years at Nokia in various executive positions, left the Finnish cell phone maker in 2010 after the board appointed Stephen Elop as the next chief executive.

Source: Reuters
Michael Ward, Jonathan Heilbron, Board, Walpole

UK luxury brand trade body, Walpole, has announced the appointment of Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, and Jonathan Heilbron, CEO of Thomas Pink, to its board of directors. Prior to joining the board, both Ward and Heilbron have been long-time supporters of Walpole, as Walpole Brands of Tomorrow mentors and regular speakers.

Source: Fashion United

For more in the series of The Latest Appointments, please see our most recent editions as follows:

The Latest Appointments: PPR, Cadillac & Baccarat
The Latest Appointments: Mulberry, DVF & Ralph Lauren
The Latest Appointments: Burberry, Coty & Condé Nast


© Luxury Society, The Latest Appointments: Christie’s, Richemont & Ferrari, 19 November 2012, by Sophie Doran.


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LUXURY, FULLY CUSTOMISABLE IN 2012

 

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Coach’s Year of the Dragon collection, developed in collaboration with Chinese artist Zhang Lan.

As luxury consumers become more diverse and discerning, we investigate how brands are approaching an increasingly fragmented international market.

I would be happy to argue that luxury has become one of the most globalised industries in the world. Rapid and aggressive expansion by super brands like Louis Vuitton, Rolls Royce, Rolex and Four Seasons, backed by powerful super conglomerates like LVMH, Richemont and PPR, has seen luxury permeate areas of the earth once better known for human rights conflicts than seven-star hotels.

At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, luxury has never been bigger – nor has it ever had larger levels of retailers, consumers, publicity and services. As the game moves at a breakneck pace, success in this industry has become driven by Darwinian thinking, where brands must quite literally, adapt or die.

Whether it be conforming to the consumer driven digital revolution, selling goods on the internet or responding to the need for personalisation of iconic products, it has been those brands quickest to embrace change that have remained the most agile and best positioned to absorb the effects of economic instability.


“ For me bespoke is exactly what luxury should be. Old-fashioned luxury is about having something especially made for you – Anya Hindmarch ”


Difficult when you consider that luxury is unique, in that the customer and the Maison are always right. Keeping a brand “luxury” is just as much about dictating what that brand is and what it stands for, as much as it is about bending over backwards to give a client what they want. But in saying this, in 2012 it feels like the pendulum of favour may be swinging toward consumers. Brands seem to have conceded the need to deliver outside their traditional value charter – whether that is a Facebook page or Hermès Sari.

The fruits of such logic are ever apparent when one looks at the products luxury brands will be taking with them into 2012 – products that are not only regionally and culturally thoughtful, but often made-to-order and sometimes designed entirely by the customer. Whilst 2011 was an active year for the launch of bespoke initiatives for brands, I can’t help but think it was just a taste of what’s to come. Vanessa Friedman often muses that three times makes a trend – if that is the case, expect to see a veritable avalanche of bespoke
options in the coming twelve months.

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Anya Hindmarch and an example of a made-to-order product from her Bespoke boutique.

Mass Customisation

Customisation is nothing new – it is if anything, a founding principle of luxury – but it certainly is something incredibly popular in fashion and accessories. And in an era where luxury has penetrated the mass market and something afforded by the middle class, what could be more appropriate? The only thing more luxurious than a signature Burberry trench, is a signature Burberry trench made entirely to your specifications, which technology has now made a reality on a global scale.

Burberry’s Bespoke service allows clients to choose fabrics, patterns, designs, cuts and even colours. In addition, they can to scroll through various options in collar styles, cuff straps and mink linings, among others. The completed product is be delivered within four to eight weeks.


“ In an era where luxury has penetrated the mass market and become a status symbol of the middle class, what could be more appropriate? ”


UK accessories brand Anya Hindmarch, established a dedicated bespoke retail space in London over two years ago, most recently launching online. Speaking with The Telegraph, the designer mused that “old-fashioned luxury is about having something especially made for you. It’s something that has a story.” Her Knightsbridge boutique has an on-site craftsman, developing an array of leather goods as diverse as £75 bookmarks, through made-to-measure wallets, to Hindmarch’s £15,000 crocodile-leather Ebury bags.

And as luxury menswear becomes more and more important to the landscape, it is unsurprising to learn that Louis Vuitton and Bally now both offer made-to-order shoes – and in the case of Vuitton, made-to-order handbags for women. Prada launched customisable eyewear and accessories options last year, Gucci moved into made-to-measure suits and shoes. Brioni recently revealed that 40% of its sales are derived from its bespoke products, stitched by hand in the Southern Italian town of Penne.

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Blancpain’s “Chinese Dragon” Caruso, limited to a run of only 50 units worldwide, retailing for approximately $220,000.

Regional Customisation

Regional influence has extended well beyond local inventory management and appropriate
communications strategies. Today geography not only exudes overt influence on product design but seeks to compliment – or should I say capitalise – on local culture and religion. 2012 will make an example out of China, with the significant number of products designed by luxury brands, celebrating the Year of the Dragon.

Just this week, Vertu has launched a luxury dragon-themed mobile phone based on its Signature collection, with prices hovering above $20,000. Coach has collaborated with Chinese artist Zhang Lan on an accessories collection, adorning the brand’s signature designs and mahogany colour scheme with golden dragons rendered in a style reminiscent of traditional Chinese ink painting (Jing Daily).


“ How far can brands travel in their quest to please consumers before they lose their own specific defining values and cultural heritage? ”


Piaget threw an elaborate gala in Beijing to launch its Dragon and Phoenix collections, Shanghai Tang collaborated with Nespresso for its Dragon collection and Rolls Royce has released a limited edition Phantom for the occasion – unsurprising when they now claim to sell more cars in China than they do in the West.

Swarovski lauded the event with a jewellery and timepiece collection whilst Versace designed a collection of flashy accessories starting at $5000, for distribution exclusively in the Asia Pacific region. Blancpain debuted its “Chinese Dragon” Caruso, priced at 1.4 million Yuan (approximately $220,000), limited to a run of only 50 units worldwide.

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Louis Vuitton’s 2010 celebration of Diwali, which included a collaboration with Indian artist Rajeev Sethi, whose window concepts were installed from Beirut to Shanghai and from Johannesburg to Oslo.

Many of these sentiments were evident in India 2011, when Hermès produced a range of Saris and Bottega Veneta its ‘Knot India’ collection, coinciding with its exhibition in Mumbai. Louis Vuitton was characteristically ahead of the curve back in 2010, when they feted Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, on a global scale.

Whilst pursuing these types of strategies is neither a surprising move nor a new one – particularly when you consider the fanfare that is Christmas – an increasingly diverse customer base is forcing brands into new territories and cultures that are not there own, as we have seen with the Year of the Dragon. But to remain successful, history suggests they must also stay true to their luxury positioning, the specialities and strengths of their own native soil and essentially, retain tight control their of brand image – easily achieved
by controlling the products on the market.

The question remains, how far can brands travel in their quest to please consumers before they lose their own specific defining values and cultural heritage? Does a Sari made in France by Hermès, hold real significance to an Indian consumer? How will products change again with the emerging strength of Brazil and continued prosperity in Russia?

With any luck 2012 will answer some of these questions, but as always, we invite our members to join the discussion below.

For more in our Bulletin series, please see our most recent editions as follows:


© Luxury Society, Luxury, Fully Customisable in 2012, by Sophie Doran.


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