PARIS — As it prepares to relaunch under new management and a new designer, Courrèges also has a new owner: Artémis, French billionaire François Pinault’s family holding company, has acquired full ownership of the Space Age label, WWD has learned.
Artémis, which already held 40 percent of the house, has bought out Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, the former Young & Rubicam executives who acquired Courrèges from founders André and Coqueline Courrèges in 2011, according to sources. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Courrèges has been in restructuring mode since April 2017, when it appointed turnaround expert François Le Ménahèze as president. Three months later, the house parted ways with artistic directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant after two years at the helm.
Since the start of the year, the brand has put in place a new team: Acne Studios alums Christina Ahlers as chief executive officer and Yolanda Zobel as artistic director. Last week, the house unveiled a new logo, designed by Peter Saville, the British art director who is also behind the reworking of the Burberry logo under Riccardo Tisci.
Courrèges has begun releasing on Instagram a series of conceptual short films, using archive footage, under the hashtag #thefutureisbehindyou.
Its arty new direction should come as no surprise. Ahlers worked at Acne Studios from 2006, opening the label’s first overseas office in Paris, which would become its international headquarters. Prior to that, the German executive was sales manager at Maison Martin Margiela.
A relative unknown, Zobel — who grew up in Germany — worked at Jil Sander, Chloé and Giorgio Armani in addition to Acne. She is set to show her first collection in Paris on Sept. 26.
At the time of her appointment, the designer said Courrèges has “inspired me and entire generations of designers with its anticonformism, its avant-garde spirit and its irresistible joie de vivre.”
Ahlers, meanwhile, 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, which has a flagship store on Rue François-1er in Paris, 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.
Artémis is the majority shareholder of the global luxury group Kering, led by its chairman, François-Henri Pinault, the son of company founder François Pinault. It first entered the capital of Courrèges in 2015, and last year added to its fashion portfolio by acquiring a minority stake in Giambattista Valli.
The group’s portfolio also includes the auction house Christie’s, the Château Latour vineyard, the luxury cruise specialist Ponant and the Stade Rennais Football Club, among other assets.
In addition, Artémis owns Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, which are the exhibition sites of François Pinault’s contemporary art collections. A third exhibition center is slated to open in 2019 in the Commodities Exchange building in the Paris city center.