GAULTIER HIRES BOUTIQUE DESIGNER

PARIS — Jean Paul Gaultier has signed Philippe Starck to develop a new boutique concept, a key step in his plan to open a series of Gaultier stores worldwide with backing from Hermes.
“Jean Paul is a talented designer and a really wonderful person. I am thrilled to be involved,” said Starck. “In fact, I see only one problem: Whenever I get together with Jean Paul and [Gaultier president] Donald Potard, we have so much to talk about, it’s going to be hard to get down to work.”
Starck is in the midst of several hotel projects with Ian Schrager and last week opened a new health food restaurant in Paris called Bon.
Gaultier executives said that the site for the first new boutique has not yet been signed and they declined to discuss how many boutiques will be opened.
Last year, when he announced that his company was taking a 35 percent stake in Gaultier, Hermes chairman Jean-Louis Dumas said the designer could open three stores a year in major capitals once the concept was developed. Hermes invested $25 million to enable Gaultier to expand internationally.

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