Moving More Upscale, Louis Vuitton Hires New Accessories Designer

Actress Michelle Williams appears in Louis Vuitton's campaign for its new higher end Capucine handbag, made of Taurillon calf leather

Actress Michelle Williams appears in Louis Vuitton’s campaign for its new higher end Capucine handbag, made of Taurillon calf leather

Paris—One of the goals that Louis Vuitton this year was to move the brand more upscale, pruning back on its offerings in its iconic monogram canvas leathergoods. To that end, the world’s largest luxurygoods brand said today it hired Darren Spaziani to be its new accessories director.

Spaziani, 38, had been an accessories designer at Proenza Shouler (he came up with that brand’s popular PS1 handbag) as well as a design director at Balenciaga and consultant to Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch.

A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion, Spaziani worked for Louis Vuitton from 2004 to 2006.

Calling Spaziani “one of the most talented designers of his generation,” Delphine Arnault, daughter of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and a top executive at Louis Vuitton, said in a statement: “He knows the maison well and will bring modern vision and professionalism to Louis Vuitton’s creations.”

Capucine Style a High-End Hit?

Spaziani’s appointment is the latest in a series of steps Louis Vuitton has taken to reposition itself into the “absolute luxury” market. CEO Bernard Arnault said earlier this year that Louis Vuitton would pare down offering in its canvas bags—which account for about two thirds of its business at gross margins of at least 90%. Instead, the brand will expand offerings in the “highest quality leathers” at higher pricepoints and perhaps lower gross margins.

Already the brand’s Capucine handbags, retail about 3,500 euros (about $4,600), reportedly has been a hit since its launch in June. According to a report in Reuters, Capucines were selling out in Louis Vuitton shops in Milan, Paris and London. At the New Bond Street store, “there was only one sample bag with a ‘not for sale’ sticker on it and 40 people had already reserved one but assistants said the bags were likely to be available only at the end of September or early in October.”

Besides using full-grain Taurillon calf leather, the same kind used by Hermès, Louis Vuitton may also be employing “planned scarcity” as Hermès is said to do.

 

 

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Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com

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