PARIS — Lanvin has appointed Jean-Philippe Hecquet chief executive officer, according to the house.
Hailing the beginning of a new chapter, Joann Cheng, chairwoman of Fosun Fashion Group and Lanvin, said Hecquet’s “extensive international experience in the luxury fashion industry, his strong entrepreneurship and his proven managerial skills” will be major assets in developing and accelerating Lanvin’s business.
Hecquet said Lanvin’s rich heritage and unique DNA, “gives us a beautiful opportunity to breathe new life into the oldest and perhaps most revered of the French fashion houses.
“Fashion is a continuous challenge,” he added. “I’m convinced that with a high-performing team and the strong support of Fosun Fashion Group we will make Lanvin beat again in the hearts of our customers.”
The executive also boasts more than 14 years of experience in various roles at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. That includes two years as international retail director for Tag Heuer.
Before that, he spent eight years at Louis Vuitton, acting as country head in Canada, vice president of operations in North America, logistics and supply chain manager in Hawaii, and category manager in watches and jewelry in Paris.
His résumé also includes stints at Mercedes-Benz France and online car sales start-up Latitudes-Diffusion.com.
Finding a new business leader at Lanvin has been among the first missions for Fosun International, which acquired the French luxury house in February. It ousted creative director Olivier Lapidus and general manager Nicolas Druz, sparking speculation about who might take on the daunting task of rebuilding the cash-strapped label.
Cheng acted as interim ceo at the fashion house.
During his tenure at SMCP-owned Sandro, Hecquet is credited with developing the accessible luxury player into a global fashion powerhouse across 43 countries with 600-plus stores, growing business by more than 20 percent every year.
Steering the turnaround of Lanvin will prove a more mammoth task.
The house has struggled to find its footing since dismissing creative director Alber Elbaz in October 2015, following disagreements between the designer and Wang over the company’s direction. Elbaz catapulted the brand’s notoriety during his 14-year tenure. Bouchra Jarrar, his successor after a season under the studio helmed by Chemena Kamali and Lucio Finale, parted ways with the house after 16 months amid dwindling sales. Lapidus got the chop after a run of only two seasons, during which his collections received mixed reviews.
As reported, the oldest French fashion house still operating has seen sales erode since a peak of 235 million euros in 2012. Revenues totaled 110 million euros in 2017, with a net loss of 52 million euros, and are projected to shrink to 85 million euros this year, with losses seen at 40 million euros, according to a source with knowledge of the label’s finances.
Cheng previously said relaunching the house with fresh talents, while adhering to the values that the brand has maintained since 1889, “is fundamental to returning the maison to its rightful position at the top table of the world’s most lauded and innovative fashion houses.”
Lucas Ossendrijver, creative director of men’s wear, who has proven a rock throughout the turbulence, remains in place. Designer names in the frame for the women’s line, meanwhile, are said to include Haider Ackermann, Carven’s Serge Ruffieux and Simon Porte Jacquemus. The main challenge for the group in looking to attract talent is that, in a short space of time, the brand and its legacy have been damaged.
Fosun beat Qatari rival Mayhoola Group to win control of the label, which was facing a liquidity crisis.
Lanvin was under pressure to find an investor, as it was fast running out of funds. After an auditor last year issued a warning over the label’s financial situation, Wang promised to inject cash into the company, but the investment never materialized.
The sale agreement deal left Wang and her business partner, Swiss businessman Ralph Bartel, on board with minority stakes in Lanvin, with Fosun committing to investing up to 120 million euros in the struggling house.
Lanvin adds a luxury asset to Fosun Fashion Group, which has been given a mandate to invest globally in the fashion and retail industry to leverage the momentum in Chinese consumer spending. The division aims to create long-term value through a variety of strategic initiatives, including brand building, new product development, strategic alliances, entry into new channels and marketing.
The company, which is active in the health, property and mining sectors, made its first move into fashion in 2011 with the acquisition of a minority stake in Greek jewelry brand Folli Follie.
In 2013, it invested in the Italian tailor Caruso, assuming control of the company last year, and in 2014 it entered the capital of German fashion brand Tom Tailor Holding AG. Fosun also holds a stake in St. John Knits Inc., the American heritage knitwear brand.