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Apple Is Turning To Luxury Apparel And Accessories As It Grows Tired Of 'Slumming'

Angela Ahrendts isn’t coming to Apple to expand and oversee the company’s retail stores. “That’s a giant head fake,” says Scott Gallway, founder of L2, a global "think tank for digital innovation." Instead, the former Burberry CEO's task will be to “bring the company’s minimalist aesthetic to the world of luxury apparel and accessories,” according to Fortune. Gallway notes that Ahrendts, who joins Apple next spring as a senior vice president, wasn't hired to simply spruce up the company’s retail operations. Instead, she’ll help Apple expand into product categories such as apparel, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, watches, and luggage. He states:
There’s absolutely no way a woman running the most iconic brand in fashion is going to leave [Burberry, simply] to run Apple’s stores. I just don’t buy it. Last year she made $26 million, and she’s the darling of the fashion world.
In Gallway’s opinion, Apple has grown tired of being a luxury brand in a commodity driven business. Instead of “slumming” with the likes of Samsung, Motorola, and HP, Apple hopes to take things in a new direction. This means competing with companies such as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and almost certainly, Burberry. [caption id="attachment_485569" align="aligncenter" width="595"]Paul Deneve Paul Deneve[/caption] Gallway suggests that Apple’s hiring of Ahrendts matches that of Paul Deneve earlier this year. The former Yves St. Laurent CEO now serves Apple as a vice president of “special projects.” As Gallway concludes:
Something tells me (Deneve) hasn’t been brought on to come up with the next MacBook Air. He’s [probably] in a design studio somewhere, designing a blouse or a handbag that is a, beautiful, and b, does something that leverages Apple’s innovation and technology.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what Ahrendts’ hiring means for Apple long-term. As long as it doesn’t mean the return of clothing like this, I’ll be a happy camper. For more on Ahrendts, I point you to this amazing video, which we first showed you in October: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DzBIYwZsut0 What changes do you hope Ahrendts and Deneve will bring to Apple?
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