CEOs say the darnedest things. Recently I was chatting with Frederic Torloting, the new co-owner of Courreges, as we examined their first collection of re-issued dresses from the archives in new materials and slightly new proportions, when he mentioned that he believed all these people buying up old houses and relaunching them thought about the product in the wrong way.
“This isn’t a dress,” he said, pointing at a – well, it looked like a dress to me. Albeit one with very cool clear vinyl circles inserted at various points along the side. I raised my eyebrows. “It’s a design object,” he said. “And it needs to be marketed as such.”
I wouldn’t have paid much attention to the comment, except Mr Torloting and his business partner Jacques Bungert are actually the ex-chairmen of advertising agency Young & Rubicam in France. As far as I know, it’s the first time the head of a major ad agency has made the jump to CEO of a fashion brand.
Maybe it was the logical next step after all the consumer product execs trading up. Louis Vuitton’s new CEO comes from Danone; PPR’s ex-head of luxury came from Unilever.
Anyway, they were effectively head-hunted by Andre Courreges’ wife, Coqueline, who was rumoured to have been entertaining offers from all the big fashion players to buy the brand, but who apparently though they would do a better job. I wonder if it could herald a new approach to luxury.
At the moment they have relaunched the brand in about 25 select boutiques around the world, and online. They say they have no plans for a show. It will be interesting to see how this admen-move-to-the-brand experiment works out.
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