The apparel industry has snatched up another L’Oréal executive.
A spokeswoman for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton confirmed Wednesday morning that Valerie Chapoulaud, president of the Luxury Products Division at L’Oréal USA, has been named chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton Taiwan. She will assume her new post in mid-September, said the spokeswoman.
Chapoulaud is the third L’Oréal executive in six months to leave the beauty world for a fashion post. Chapoulaud’s immediate predecessor in her L’Oréal role, Edgar Huber, was named president of Juicy Couture in June after spending a year as a senior executive for L’Oréal SA in Paris, and Edouard Roche, a 17-year L’Oréal veteran who last was worldwide general manager for Redken Fifth Avenue, decamped in February for Polo Ralph Lauren to head up Impact 21 Co Ltd., a majority-owned subsidiary of Polo.
A 24-year veteran of L’Oréal, Chapoulaud joined the company in 1984 and spent her early years in financial and sales positions. She was named general manager of Biotherm in Italy in 1994, and joined the Biotherm International development team in Paris two years later. In 2002, Chapoulaud was appointed general manager of luxury products for the Asian zone. She was named European zone director in 2005 before assuming her current role in June 2007.
As president of the Luxury Products Division, Chapoulaud has been responsible for overseeing the beauty giant’s prestige brands in the U.S., including Lancôme, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Giorgio Armani Cosmetics and Shu Uemura. She reports to Laurent Attal, president and ceo of L’Oréal USA.
“We respect Valerie’s decision and thank her for her passion and her unique contributions to the Luxury Products Division and to L’Oréal USA,” said Attal, adding that Chapoulaud’s successor “will be announced shortly.”
Chapoulaud had not returned repeated calls for comment by press time Wednesday.
Industry observers praised the move.
“Fashion is a highly successful business, but this isn’t the first time they’ve reached into the beauty world for top positions,” said René Plessner, president of executive search firm René Plessner Associates, noting that, for instance, Liz Claiborne nabbed William L. McComb, its ceo, from Johnson & Johnson. It can also work the other way, he noted, pointing out that the new president and chief operating officer of the Estée Lauder Cos., Fabrizio Freda, was president of the Global Snacks Division of Procter & Gamble Co., before joining Lauder in March with the understanding that he will move up to ceo within two years.
“While it may be coincidental that all three of these former L’Oréal executives have gone to fashion, it isn’t surprising that they come from the beauty industry in general,” continued Plessner. “The movement from beauty to fashion is logical because of the need to combine sophisticated marketing with great intuition. The cosmetics business is well respected in other industries for producing executives with both business and fashion senses. Valerie obviously fits that profile.”
Added Wendy Liebmann, founder and ceo of WSL Strategic Retail, “Fashion companies are becoming more integrated with beauty — in some ways, they have learned to live nicely together. The big global fashion companies are realizing that they need a much more sophisticated level of marketing around the world, so to their credit, they are looking beyond traditional fashion people to run them. Executives with experience at a major beauty company like L’Oréal have strategic experience with packaged goods, experience that a lot of senior fashion executives haven’t had.”
While both fashion and beauty require forging an emotional connection to one’s consumer, Liebmann continued, beauty executives often have an edge in international business. “Designers have a skill that’s hard to replace, but often they haven’t had the type of learning that helps them run multinational businesses,” said Liebmann. “There are a significant number of beauty companies, like L’Oréal, who have been running multinational businesses for many years, where brand development is done continent by continent. Given all of the emerging markets — particularly China, Russia and India — and the importance of them, it’s not surprising where if you need that skill set and you need it fast, you’d go to beauty companies. Running fashion is different in some ways, but there is enough overlap — particularly in an emotional relationship to brand-building — so that it would make sense.”
@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