SHOE BUSINESS: Fashion curator and historian Olivier Saillard has been appointed artistic, image and culture director of J.M. Weston, according to a statement from the brand’s owner, Europeenne de Participations Industrielles. Saillard succeeds Michel Perry, who has been the brand’s artistic director since 2001.
It’s an unexpected move by Saillard who has been director of the Palais Galliera since May 2010. A spokeswoman confirmed he is due to exit his position in January. Saillard could not be reached for comment.
The seasoned curator, who joined the Palais Galliera from Les Arts Décoratifs, spearheaded a major four-year renovation and restoration program for the museum, reopening in 2011 with a major retrospective dedicated to Azzedine Alaïa, in collaboration with Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Since then Saillard has presented more than 28 exhibitions, including a number of off-site shows such as the blockbuster Madame Grès one at the Musée Bourdelle in 2011, and an exhibition exploring the influence of the 18th century on contemporary fashion held in the apartments of the Château de Versailles’ Grand Trianon in the same year. Saillard during his time at the museum has also contributed to enriching its collections, notably with the creation of the Vogue Paris Foundation in 2014. He initiated the second phase of renovation on the site’s permanent galleries, funded by Chanel, due for completion in 2019.
The roving curator earlier this month was in Florence for the opening of his exhibition “The Ephemeral Museum of Fashion” at the Costume Gallery of the Palazzo Pitti. He is also known for his conceptual performances around clothes, with actress Tilda Swinton a frequent collaborator.
J.M. Weston, meanwhile, is gearing up for a new phase with the opening of the brand’s biggest flagship to date planned for fall 2018 on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The store will measure around 6,500 square feet, and will mark the brand’s 11th Paris store. Founded in 1891, J.M. Weston was one of the first luxury brands to open on the famed shopping artery in 1932, with the Arc de Triomphe monument featured on its logo. The brand in 2010 moved out of its historic store into a temporary pop-up store in the former Gaumont Ambassade cinema on the avenue.
Known for its 180 Moccasin leather loafer and “Goodyear” welting, the house’s production is based in Limoges, and employs 170 craftsmen. The brand also offers women’s spin’s on its men’s styles, and in 2012 launched its first collection of large leather goods, dubbed Grand Angle. Celebrity wearers of the brand have ranged from Cary Grant to French actor Pierre Niney, as well as politicians including Dominique Strauss-Kahn, François Fillon and Nicolas Sarkozy.
The brand’s owner, EPI, also owns footwear brand François Pinet, upscale children’s label Bonpoint, shirt brand Alain Figaret and the Château La Verrerie winery.