PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Tuesday appointed Jean-Christophe Babin, Tag Heuer’s longtime chief executive officer, as the new ceo at Bulgari.
This confirms a report in WWD on Jan. 14 that Babin would take the management helm of the Roman jewelry house, which falls under the watches and jewelry division of LVMH headed by Francesco Trapani. Babin is expected to take up the post in the coming months.
Babin succeeds Michael Burke, who headed Bulgari from February to December 2012, when he was named to succeed Jordi Constans as chairman and ceo of Louis Vuitton.
Of French and Italian nationality, Babin is a graduate of the prestigious HEC Business School in Paris. He started his career in 1983 at Procter & Gamble in France in a variety of commercial and marketing roles, going on to work for Benckiser and Henkel in Italy.
He joined Tag in 2000 and orchestrated what LVMH described as a“remarkable development.”
His successor at the Swiss watchmaker, famous for sports watches and chronographs worn by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Maria Sharapova, has yet to be named.
During his tenure at Tag, Babin oversaw the brand’s retail expansion, adding up to 30 stores per year. He also experienced chronic shortages for some of Tag’s top sellers, including the Carrera and the Ladies’ Aquaracer.
In one of the headline luxury deals of 2011, LVMH took control of Bulgari in a cash-and-share swap valued at more than $6 billion.
Babin’s appointment suggests Bulgari is keen to seize on its potential in watches, which Burke had characterized as “way below potential.”
This category — which in the past has been problematic at times for the jeweler — is the second-largest business for Bulgari, which recently reined in the expansion of its leather goods.
More than a decade ago, the firm solidified its watchmaking back office, buying top suppliers such as Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth, and the labels’ production facilities, Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie SA, which has allowed Bulgari to produce watches entirely in-house.
Organic revenues at LVMH’s watches and jewelry division gained 6 percent in 2012 to 2.84 billion euros, or $3.65 billion at current exchange.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast