Apple poaches Yves Saint Laurent boss Paul Deneve to add fashion skills ahead of iWatch launch

Computer giant preparing for push into 'wearable technology'

The sleek designs of its fashion-conscious products are the equal of any catwalk display. Now Apple has caused a stir by poaching the head of Yves Saint Laurent as the computer giant prepares to make a push into "wearable technology".

Paul Deneve, chief executive of the haute couture fashion house, announced that he is quitting in order to move to Cupertino, California, where he will work on "special projects" at Apple, reporting directly to Tim Cook, the company's CEO.

Deneve's move follows speculation that Apple is preparing to launch an internet-connected "iWatch" which investors hope could prove the next game-changing product, following the iPad and iPhone.

A 53 year-old Belgian, who worked in sales and marketing for Apple in Europe in the 1990s before starting a career in fashion, Deneve is well-placed to ensure that the "iWatch" has the design appeal to take on high-end brands like Rolex in the luxury chronograph market.

Revenues at Yves Saint Laurent nearly doubled under Deneve, who is a marketing and brand image expert.

Apple's most successful products bear the sleek, intuitive imprint of design guru, Sir Jonathan Ive. Deneve, who previously ran the French fashion houses Nina Ricci and Lanvin, brings experience of marketing luxury, wearable goods.

Cook, Steve Jobs's successor, has insisted that Apple has not lost its innovative edge, since the 2011 death of its driving force. Deneve has shown he is unafraid to take risks.

He brought in controversial designer Hedi Slimane to give Yves Saint Laurent a complete makeover, telling him to revive the fashion house's "revolutionary spirit" of the 1960s.

Having recently trademarked "iWatch" in a number of jurisdictions, Apple is expected to kick-start the "smart watch" market, with a device that effectively puts an iPhone on a user's wrist.

Analysts expect the "iWatch", which would allow users to read emails, run video and respond to social media notifications, to sell for around £200.

Samsung and Google are developing their own smart watches which will be compatible with consumers' smart phones or tablets.

A basic £110 Cookoo watch already alerts iPhone users to incoming calls and allows them to operate the phone camera remotely, via a Bluetooth link.

Apple could also develop a high-end "iWatch", incorporating the classic design of a vintage timepiece, to compete with luxury brands like Rolex.

After a dip during the 2008 financial crisis, luxury watch sales are rising again. UK sales rose by 4 per cent market in 2012, contributing to a global market worth $35 billion. Total watch sales are predicted to show a 30 per cent rise by 2017, according to Euromonitor.

An Apple spokesman said the company was "thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve", who was named vice president of "special projects", with a direct line to Mr Cook. The company would not detail exactly what Deneve's job would entail.

Apple is continuing to seek a chief retail officer after the holder of that post, John Browett, was ousted last year.

Yves Saint Laurent said Deneve will be replaced by Francesca Bellettini, who is a director at Bottega Veneta, another luxury brand owned by French fashion giant Kering. Slimane's role has been expanded to include the supervision of "all strategic projects for the brand," the fashion house said.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Java Developer - web services, XML and API

    £330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

    £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Systems Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style