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NEW YORK — Valérie Hermann’s Stateside move will take her to Reed Krakoff.
This story first appeared in the February 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The outgoing chief executive officer at Yves Saint Laurent is joining the New York-based ready-to-wear and accessories house as president and ceo, effective April 1. Hermann will take over responsibilities previously held by Graziano de Boni, the president who left the year-old division of Coach Inc. last fall and has since resurfaced as ceo of Giorgio Armani Corp.
While Krakoff is a well-known figure in fashion circles as president and executive creative director of Coach, his namesake line is virtually an upstart. Krakoff unveiled the brand last February during New York Fashion Week, and launched to consumers about six months ago. In addition to freestanding stores in New York, Las Vegas and Tokyo, it is available in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Colette, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford and Isetan, and Krakoff has added an eponymous fragrance since the launch.
“Valérie is someone who has an amazing and unique combination of business leadership, merchant talent, and the ability to really understand the whole picture of a luxury brand, from the collection to distribution, strategy, marketing, p.r., and the financial aspect,” Krakoff told WWD. “For me, it really is an incredible opportunity to work with someone who is going to bring that knowledge, experience and expertise to a brand that is just starting to evolve in that space.”
Lew Frankfort, Coach Inc.’s chairman and ceo, echoed those sentiments, calling Hermann “a natural.”
“She is well-trained as a business person and seasoned merchant and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her,” he said.
Over the past six years, Hermann, in tandem with designer Stefano Pilati, helped turn Yves Saint Laurent around. She joined YSL in 2005 from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where she held titles as president of John Galliano and director of women’s rtw at Dior. Before that, she was president and ceo of Jacques Fath. Hermann started her career at the Comité Colbert, the Paris-based luxury goods trade association.
Over the past few years, she has also been lauded for building YSL’s product portfolio, particularly with leather goods and footwear. This will serve her well at Reed Krakoff, which launched with rtw, handbags and shoes, and also offers jewelry and watches in its lifestyle mix.
Hermann will be relocating to New York, and Frankfort said that she was arriving at the brand “at a perfect time.”
“We have been in the marketplace for six months, and we are gaining traction,” Frankfort said. “Consumers are embracing the Reed Krakoff brand. We are looking for Valérie to first understand the essence of the brand and where we are going, which I think will be very easy for her, and then develop a blueprint for growth.
“It’s in its nascent stage and very fertile for growth,” Frankfort added. “We will be looking for Valérie to provide global leadership across all the dimensions of the business to allow the brand to realize its potential, which we believe is significant. We believe that Valérie gets the DNA of the brand, and she will cultivate it and foster it in partnership with Reed and the rest of the team.”
“The possibility of building a new international luxury brand with such tremendous potential comes very rarely and I’m excited about this logical new step in my career,” Hermann said.