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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams' life story will be told in a biography written by a New York Times reporter
arts + ents
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Merger and Acquisition Project Manager

    £500 - £550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently...

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis