Jim Armitage: The real heroine behind Burberry’s revival

 

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The Independent Online

Outlook Angela Ahrendts won high praise yesterday for bringing the fashion Press on board to Apple’s product launch extravaganza.

“She turned around Burberry, and now she’ll do the same at Apple” gasped the commentariat about the woman who just left the UK fashion label to run Apple’s shops.

Ms Ahrendts certainly didn’t muck Burberry’s renaissance up. Commissioning handbags and other accessories was a good ploy, as was pushing the website and continuing to buy back its overseas concessions.

But it was the energetic entrepreneurial brilliance of another, more talented female business brain that jolted Burberry from its seemingly terminal decline downmarket. And she is too oft forgotten.

This was Ahrendts’ predecessor, the Bronx-born Rose Marie Bravo. She it was who brought in Christopher Bailey from Gucci, and so revitalised the clobber on the shelves. She it was who doubled sales to $1bn and drove its international expansion with the help of another of her clever hires – Kate Moss. She it was who took the tough, but necessary decisions to cut costs and focus on getting the business back on a sustainable footing.

Ms Ahrendts may do a great job shifting Apple’s new iPhones and watches, but I’d love to see Samsung hire Ms Bravo and see who wins in a head-to-head.

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