Hermes In Talks To Sell Gaultier Stakes

Jean Paul Gaultier Jean Paul Gaultier
(NEW YORK) For Hermès, the venerable French brand responsible for inducing Birkin and Kelly lust for generations, the attention as of late has been focused on the brand’s purchase by LVMH. But today, the focus has shifted to Hermès’ possible sale of its 45 percent stake in Jean Paul Gaultier. Hermès has not disclosed information about potential buyers for its sizeable JPG stake, but has announced that it is in talks to sell. In 1999, Hermès bought 35 percent of JPG to the tune of $23 million, and in 2003 Gaultier himself was recruited for the role of Hermès creative director by former longtime Hermès chairman Jean-Louis Dumas. Hermès then increased its stake in Gaultier to 45 percent in 2008. Hermès’ final collection by Gaultier was presented for spring/summer 2011. After a decade at the helm of Lacoste, Christopher Lamaire replaced Gaultier in May 2010. The majority of Gaultier’s revenue comes from its perfumes and ready-to-wear licenses, followed by the accessory sales.

Last month, Hermès remained ambivalent about joining LVMH, primarily due to concerns about a discordance between the brand’s emphasis on “refinement, and basically making beautiful objects” and LVMH’s formidable, so-called “corporate” approach to luxury, Hermès chief executive officer Patrick Thomas told the New York Times. Interest and speculation about Hermes’ desire to dispense of its Gaultier stakes diverts from the brand’s recently spotlighted “cultural fight,” as Thomas phrased it to the Times, between its heritage and its future within LVMH.
ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV

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