PARIS – Courrèges has named Christina Ahlers chief executive officer, charged with spearheading the international development of the brand. Her appointment will be effective Feb. 12.
Ahlers joins the company from Acne Studios, where she had worked since 2006, opening the label’s first international office in Paris, which would become its international headquarters. Prior to that, she was sales manager at Maison Martin Margiela. A German national, Ahlers has a law degree from the University of Bayreuth.
The executive’s appointment comes at a key period for Courrèges, which has been without an artistic director since the departure in July of design duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant after two years at the helm. The house had appointed turnaround expert François Le Ménahèze as president in April.
Known for its pioneering Space Age designs in the Sixties, Courrèges was purchased in 2011 from founders André and Coqueline Courrèges by former advertising executives Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, who relaunched it through collaborations with the likes of Evian, Eastpak and Estée Lauder.
Artémis SA, French billionaire François Pinault’s family holding company, took a minority stake in the label in 2015.
“After the reorganization led by François Le Ménahèze, Christina’s arrival now opens a new chapter in the house’s history. Christina’s background and experience, which was instrumental in contributing to Acne Studios’ international success, is a tremendous asset for the development phase we are now beginning,” Bungert and Torloting said in a statement.
“She will be announcing a new artistic direction in the coming weeks,” they added.
Ahlers said she shares the company’s “values of innovation and creativity,” adding, “I have deep admiration for this house. I have been fortunate to take part in the worldwide success of two major brands. Courrèges’ ambition is outstanding. I will put all my passion for fashion and my experience to make it a reality.”
Courrèges has been downsizing, with the closure last year of the prototype workshop at its historic production facility in the southern French city of Pau, the birthplace of André Courrèges.
The historic building, previously Courrèges’ factory complex, opened in 1972. The facility, which was renovated in 2013, no longer produced the brand’s collections, which are manufactured by third-party suppliers, and is due to be turned into an archive.