LVMH names Sophie Brocart new CEO of Jean Patou
LVMH has appointed Sophie Brocart to be the new CEO of Jean Patou, the famed, though sleepy, perfume house that the luxury conglomerate hopes to build into a significant global brand.
Last month, LVMH named Guillaume Henry to be the new creative director of Jean Patou, adding a critically-acclaimed French talent to a house with a brilliant history.
“I am delighted by the arrival of Sophie Brocart at the head of Jean Patou. Along with the talented creative director Guillaume Henry, Sophie will relaunch this emblematic Maison, which has marked the history of fashion and perfume. I wish her great success,” said Sidney Toledano, chairman and chief executive officer of the LVMH Fashion Group, which oversees Patou, in an internal corporate message. LVMH Fashion Group encompasses over a half dozen fashion houses including Celine, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Nicholas Kirkwood and Jean Patou. This summer, LVMH quietly acquired control of Jean Patou from Designer Parfums, a UK-based perfume licensing company.
Brocart joins Patou from Nicholas Kirkwood, where she has been CEO of the London shoe designer for the past four years. The appointment marks a meteoric rise for Brocart, who has been the mentor in chief of young talent within the LVMH orbit, notably guiding the winners the LVMH Prize. She also worked with Jonathan Anderson, after LVMH took a substantial stake in the Northern Irishman’s signature business, JW Anderson.
“Jean Patou is a very exciting project and one that I am passionate about. But we are only at the beginning of this adventure. We still have to find a headquarters. The key thing is that we concentrate on creativity and help Guillaume Henry to fully express himself,” Brocart told FashionNetwork.com.
A true dandy, Jean Patou founded his house in 1912. He is credited with creating the first designer ties, and launched his perfume business with three scents in 1925. A noted innovator, his Huile de Chaldée is often referred to as the first suntan lotion. Moreover, the house of Patou also has a very credible fashion DNA, since such noted designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix were all at different stages its designer.
Brocart will leave her position at Kirkwood, and LVMH will announce a successor in the future. Though she stressed that she will continue her role as head of mentoring at LVMH.
“I greatly enjoy mentoring. It’s a little like tasting a very good young wine. When you get a taste for it you like to see how it matures,” added Brocart.
While at Kirkwood, she was instrumental in developing the fledgling house, which last month staged its debut show in London Fashion Week. A brilliant piece of staging entitled Evidence, a vision of a dystopian universe on a set crammed with laptops, fridges, graffiti and monitors on which an 18-year-old “positive hacker” from California showed 360-degree images of Kirkwood’s new footwear – notably his new floral posh punk boots. In a word, Brocart is an out-of-the-box-thinking executive.
Brocart is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and ENSAE and holds a master’s degree in economics from the Ecole Normale Supérieure. Previously in her career, she held positions in LVMH corporate headquarters, as well as with Louis Vuitton and Celine.
Her appointment is very much on-trend with LVMH, which likes to move around and promote decision-makers from within its own ranks. Also last month, the group named Jenny Galimberti, the former communications director of Louis Vuitton, to be the new CEO of JW Anderson.
Not so much a revolving door, but a carefully edited escalator for management talent.
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