YVES CARCELLE NAMED HEAD OF LACROIX
Byline: Katherine Weisman
PARIS — LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault keeps saying he plans to revive the house of Christian Lacroix and on Tuesday he sent in his SWAT team.
Yves Carcelle, one of the key players within LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton — currently the president of Louis Vuitton and of the entire fashion and leather goods division of LVMH — will add the presidency of Lacroix to his responsibilities. Carcelle is succeeding Serge Marx, marking just one of many changes expected in the coming months at the couture house, which Arnault founded in 1987.
At Lacroix, Carcelle is something of a comeback kid. He actually was Lacroix president from November 1989 to April of 1990. The new appointment is a significant one, and Carcelle, who has managed the decade-long boom in the Vuitton business and who was tapped last summer to oversee LVMH’s fashion activities, is ready to tackle the post again.
“The fact that I am assuming this job should be a very strong symbol that the group is very involved in the future of Lacroix, contrary to popular rumors. The group is not going to give up,” Carcelle told WWD Tuesday. “We are basically going to start all over with a new team of four.”
That team includes designer Christian Lacroix; Jean-Pierre Debu, currently women’s fashion director at Kenzo, who will become managing director of Lacroix beginning next January, and fashion veteran Christophe Girard, who was handpicked by Carcelle to be director of fashion strategy at LVMH after spending two decades as the right hand of Pierre Berge at Yves Saint Laurent. Debu’s successor at Kenzo will be named shortly, Carcelle said.
Christian Lacroix seems delighted — and reassured — by the news. “I am, we are, so happy. The future of the house is solid,” he said. “I will be surrounded by friends. I have known Carcelle for 10 years, Girard for 20. Debu and I worked together on launching Bazar in 1994. This is a team with which I have a real affinity.”
Lacroix noted he was the midst of renegotiating his contract and he was enthusiastic about broadening his responsibilities.
Neither Lacroix nor Carcelle, however, could disclose details of the future agreement, which is being made final.
Serge Marx, who has been president of Lacroix since fall 1997, has resigned, and his future plans are unclear, though Carcelle said he would likely do management consulting from Switzerland. Marx joined Lacroix after various positions at Bally and before that, worked for fashion and retail firms in Switzerland and Italy.
Carcelle’s appointment marks the eighth time the house has changed management. In fact, the house went through presidents almost annually in its initial years. Carcelle, whose new managing director at Vuitton, Gianluca Brozzetti, started last week, will not be president of Lacroix forever, he said, but he’s in place for a while. No time frame has been put on his tenure, but he expects to oversee Lacroix at least at until the full strategy for the house is laid out.