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
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links