“Technology giants are at a turning point: Innovative technology is the minimum expectation,” said Floriane de Saint Pierre, who runs an executive search and consulting firm in Paris. “Luxury brands are at a turning point as well. For them, the product is the minimum expectation. The new frontier will probably be from a channel-agnostic, media-agnostic consumer standpoint — to invent what will connect all the dots. In my view, this is the reason why the luxury sector needs more talent from technology giants, and why technology giants are currently hiring the most innovative leaders of the luxury sector.”
She noted that global creative brands in any field share the “same technology-educated, design-savvy audience.”
Strategic luxury adviser Concetta Lanciaux said the hiring of Ahrendts signals that Apple wishes to “capture the aspirational market, which is huge,” and to incorporate the luxury sector’s know-how in retail and e-commerce into its retail business.
“The trend that will influence the future retail market the most is luxury,” Lanciaux said, explaining that accessible luxury brands and masstige players are all borrowing best practices from the luxury sector.
“They want to know how luxury executives create the dream,” she said. “They will become part of think tanks developing scenarios for future products that merge the luxury philosophy and technology. It’s a very efficient way of anticipating the future that players in heritage luxury have forgotten to do.”
Gilles Auguste, a Paris-based luxury advisor and coauthor of the recent book “Luxury Talent Management,” said Apple already behaves like a luxury brand in terms of marketing, pricing and retail formats.
“They invented a new concept store that luxury brands adore and now still copy,” Auguste said. “Recruiting Ahrendts is a sign that Apple is thinking about a new step in the development of the brand.”
Lanciaux noted that following the 2011 death of Steve Jobs, who was both the creative and business head of the company, Apple now needs to actively manage creativity, which is seen as a key skill of executives from luxury goods.
She cautioned that she does not perceive a “huge trend” for tech firms to hire luxury executives. “It is very difficult to adapt to different business practices. It will take a generation for these migrations to really metabolize,” she said.
While compensation levels at Apple for Ahrendts and Deneve were not disclosed, it is understood they would be above what they earned in the fashion industry. In the year to March 31, Ahrendts earned a base salary of 1 million pounds, or $1.6 million at current exchange. Her aggregate earnings for the same period were 3.3 million pounds, or $5.2 million, including a pension cash supplement, cash allowances, an annual bonus and benefits.
According to Lanciaux, “Higher salaries for these executives are compensation for the risk they are taking. It is a risk premium.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion