PARIS — Jacques Levy, the former president and chief executive officer of Sephora, died on Jan. 1 after a long illness. He was 62.
Funeral services were held for him in Los Angeles on Monday.
Levy — who stepped down from his role at the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain in March 2011 — was named president and ceo of Sephora in late 2005.
For the two years before that, he held the title of president of Sephora Europe (a responsibility he took up again in 2009 and added to his role of Sephora president and ceo). In that position, Levy oversaw the perfumery chain’s operations in Asia, too.
Executives responded en masse to his passing.
“Jacques Levy was a formidable Sephora executive, charismatic, who developed, with success, this company that has become the leader of its sector,” said Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer.
“Jacques Levy realized the impossible by raising Sephora [up] as an international leader in cosmetics distribution,” continued Christian Courtin-Clarins, chairman of Groupe Clarins. “He was a hard man in negotiation but always fair and a man of his word, with a real vision and a lot of audacity.”
“Jacques was extremely talented, friendly, organized, with great intuition about retail and brands with potential success,” reminisced Philippe Benacin, chairman and ceo of Inter Parfums SA. “He did amazing work at Sephora — transforming the company into one of the largest fragrance and cosmetics retailers worldwide, if not the [largest] one. Jacques was also a close friend. We will miss him a lot.”
“During his years at the helm of Sephora, Jacques had an undeniable impact not only on the success of Sephora but on our entire industry,” said Cedric Prouvé, group president international at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “He was deeply appreciated for his intelligence and leadership by his team around the world and by many of us who had the privilege of doing business with him.”
“He was a brilliant man, curious about everything, the inventor of ‘retail-tainment’ in beauty,” added Youcef Nabi, president of Lancôme International, referring to the in-store thrill factor bolstered by novel, exclusive products and seductive services, for instance.
“[Jacques’] retail knowledge — second to none — his honest, transparent and straightforward personality, as well as his business vision, has always been of great inspiration and help for us all,” said Renato Semerari, president of Coty Beauty. “Sephora owes a lot of its success and leadership to Jacques, and Coty’s success in Sephora, too.
“I had the privilege of working very closely with Jacques during my two years at Sephora,” continued Semerari. “He has taught me everything about retail and a lot about leadership and management. He was very demanding, very enthusiastic, very energetic and inspiring. He has not only been my boss but also a mentor and a friend.”
Nadia Miller, La Prairie International’s vice president, brand development, called Levy “a man of global vision. He once said to me, ‘A brand has to be consistent and recognizable no matter if you are the wholesaler or retailer. It is the consumer finding us together that creates trust and leads to the purchase.’ ”
Under Levy, Sephora grew exponentially. When he joined the perfumery chain in 2003, it had about 400 European doors and 75 in the U.S. By Dec. 31, 2010, Sephora counted 673 stores in Europe, with 34 net new openings during the year, and 276 doors in North America. Worldwide, the perfumery chain had 1,070 stores, including 84 net openings at the end of 2010.
Sephora’s sales reportedly doubled during Levy’s seven-year tenure.
He joined LVMH from Staples International and prior to that held various executive positions at Disney. Levy also worked at Darty and Galeries Lafayette/Nouvelles Galeries.
Following his time at Sephora, Levy joined Guess as an adviser to Paul Marciano, a company founder.
Levy was awarded a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and was inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame.
He graduated from France’s Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews