PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has named Anne de Vergeron chief executive officer of Repossi, tapping a board member of the Place Vendôme jeweler with a strong background in finance to steer it into the future.
Formerly an investment banker, de Vergeron worked at UBS for 16 years before joining LVMH in business development at the group level, serving as director of the activity. She led LVMH’s acquisition of an initial, minority stake in Repossi in 2015 and has served as a board member since the transaction. The executive, who graduated from French business school ESCP, was also involved in the group’s purchase of Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and served on the board of the high-end perfurmer.
“Honestly, it’s extremely natural as a transition, if you love the products and the brands and you like storytelling, I would say it’s extremely natural,” said de Vergeron, when asked about the move from finance to a luxury group and now, taking up the reins of a high-end label herself. As a board member, the executive has gained insight into the creation side of the jewelry house, and knows the house’s creative director, Gaia Repossi, well.
“I have a great admiration and respect for Gaia’s work but also her bold vision and her eye, and we work very well together,” she said.
“I’d like to think of ourselves as the dynamic duo,” she added.
Speaking on a Zoom call, she noted the challenge of balancing her personal view on the jewelry designer’s work while also wanting the designer to fully express herself.
“It’s a lot of dialogue, I would say, a lot of influence, a lot of understanding, a lot of admiration, and sometimes you have to tell her ‘Listen, maybe you should do it another way,’” said de Vergeron, noting she has guided the designer in the codes of corporate culture.
While the process involves respecting creation, sometimes it’s about making sure that if a diamond is on a ring, that it is visible, and not hidden, she observed.
“We’re one of the very few houses with a real creative director in jewelry — she’s Gaia Repossi, she’s got her name on the front of the door,” she said, noting that Repossi is the the house’s third generation of designers.
Stressing the designer’s influence on the jewelry world, de Vergeron ticked off some examples, including suspended diamonds and wearing rings close to fingertips.
“Ear cuffs — every brand on the market is doing ear cuffs,” she said, pointing out other Place Vendôme jewelers that have done the same.
“She has been creating a lot of codes in jewelry and it’s true, lots of brands are looking at what she’s doing and try to replicate it,” added de Vergeron.
Noting Gaia Repossi’s close ties with the art world, de Vergeron said the label plans to do more artistic collaborations. The designer recently teamed with Flavin Judd of the Donald Judd Foundation for the refurbishment of the label’s historic store in Monaco. Judd outfitted the store in raw wood, using texture, colors and geometry to delineate separate spaces — an altogether different approach to modernity than the label’s futuristic Place Vendôme flagship, designed by Rem Koolhaas, with shiny, metallic surfaces.
The brand supported the current Donald Judd retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, its first major arts sponsorship.
“Artistic dialogue is the way to establish this already existing relationship that Gaia has been building with different artists. We just want to formalize something that already exists and it’s really true to the work of Gaia,” said de Vergeron, hinting at further partnerships with the art world in the near future.
Asked what she sees as the biggest challenges for the discrete, avant-garde jewelry house with nearly 65 years of history, she said they hope to strike the right balance.
“Our goal is to find the right balance by expanding the brand identity and maintaining a coherent message on who we are, what we stand for, where we come from while continuing our artistic dialogues,” she said.
“It really belongs to Place Vendôme,” added the executive, noting that high jewelry is the label’s starting point, and that every piece is hand crafted.
As for distribution, the label is launching e-commerce early next year, initially in Europe, followed by a global rollout.
The label has just released its new collection of Berbère Chromatic rings, which come in wide bands of pink gold and lacquer — in a nude pink, red and a dark navy.