Geek is the new chic. Or is it the other way around?
LVMH, the French luxury goods conglomerate that owns labels like Givenchy, Céline, Louis Vuitton, and Dior, announced this week the appointment of a new chief digital officer, Ian Rogers (pictured, above) who comes from Apple (through its Beats acquisition) and is the latest example of a suddenly high-stakes poaching war taking shape between the fashion and tech sectors. As designers become more involved in digital marketing, and luxury brands, after years of hesitation, start selling more aggressively online, there is increasing demand for talent that combines tech-savvy with style. Only a few months ago, Donna Karan, another LVMH brand, hired Hector Muelas from Apple's marketing team as chief image officer.
There’s a lot you can read into this. First of all, luxury goods execs recognize the growing importance of owning their own online sales (just as in the brick-and-mortar world, it is far more lucrative to sell clothes in your own stores). The latest hires, as most reports in the financial press have noted, also reverse an earlier trend of fashion executives who defected to Apple, including Angela Ahrendts, formerly chief executive of Burberry, and Paul Deneve, formerly chief executive of Saint Laurent (both pictured, below).
But here’s one thing I can’t help but notice about Muelas and Rogers: These guys aren’t nerds. They’re cool.
Go ahead. Google search them.
Not a hoodie, black turtleneck, nor chino in sight.
Almost every image of Muelas that comes up is in super-stylish black and white (see below), looking as if photographed by Hedi Slimane himself. There does exist one candid color shot of Muelas giving the thumb’s up to a big fish – I would love to hear the backstory on this – and still Muelas looks right out of Williamsburg with his close-cropped hair, Ray-Bans, and dark-denim jeans (cuff type). I dare say his Instagram page looks curated.
Rogers, meanwhile, appears to have suffered an awkward, long-hair skater phase circa 2008, during his pre-Beats days running Topspin, with a look worthy of a Silicon Valley cameo. Even then, he was cool. According to Billboard, he started his career as webmaster for the Beastie Boys. More recent photographic evidence suggests Rogers is now a dashing, clear-skinned professional whose features are well suited to a simple crewneck. And he has tattoos, which, as anyone in fashion knows, should give him some additional style cred.
They’ll fit right in.