Facelifts in the Fashion Industry

What do corporate image overhauls look like in the fashion industry?

We see image overhauls on MTV often enough: at first, there was Jennifer Lopez. Her debut single If You Had My Love accomplished the herculean task of ousting Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca from the Billboard Hot 100, and suddenly we had a new Latina queen to aspire to. If there was ever any doubt: you definitely had our love, Jennifer. You definitely had our love.

We were then thrusted into the throes of a new millennium, and with it came the era of J.Lo, who insisted that her love did not cost a thing. To prove just how down to earth she was, she started going out with Ben Affleck shortly after that and made a weird movie with him. Later on still, she was spotted dancing around in a music video wearing designer rags and diamond jewellery with the luminosity of a dying star just to assure everyone that she was still Jenny From The Block.

Jennifer Lopez is not the only artist to combat an identity crisis (hello Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Sean Combs)–in fact, large corporations are sometimes also prone name-changing to suit meandering manifestos. The fashion industry is recently experiencing something of the same sort within its own fold: giant French conglomerate PPR is considering a public relations move in the same vein by changing its name. While you may not recognise PPR on its own, you might be familiar with some of the brands it owns:

This is not the first time the company made the decision to alter its colours; if anything, its history is dotted with numerous name changes to suit its ever-changing mission statement. Founded in France by François Pinault in 1962, the brand started life in the timber and construction business, making its first name change following its foray into the luxury retail industry. Today it is run by Pinault’s son, François-Henri, who oversaw two name changes this past decade.


Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault. Source

Corporations commit to the nomen facelift for a variety of reasons: some, like Kering, do it to re-introduce itself to the public following a change of direction in strategic corporate planning (Kering is rebranding itself as “specialist in the luxury and sport/lifestyle segments” as opposed to a luxury retailer). Others, like tobacco giant Philip Morris, do it to escape an onslaught of bad press and pariah status from the public (it changed it name to Altria Group in 2003).

While the name change will probably ruffle very few hairs among fans of brands under the Kering umbrella, this has not stopped Pinault from drafting Garance Doré, the beloved doyen of fashion photography, to embark on a public relations campaign to reassure its loyal customers- and, more likely, shareholders – that despite the name change, the brand remains committed to manage itself like the family business it has always been (click here to view the video).

The change will not be fully implemented until June 2013.