Anne Chapelle is a businesswoman credited with the survival and revival of fashion brands Ann Demeulemeester , Haider Ackermann and, most recently, Poiret. Poiret is a French brand owned by Chung Yoo-Kyung, chair of the South Korean luxury department store Shinsegae, who approached Chapelle in 2015 to work on its revival. The label made its runway return at Paris Fashion Week in March 2018.
Born and raised in Belgium, Chapelle initially trained as a paediatric nurse specialising in tropical medicine. She worked in the Congo on leprosy trials, after which she moved back to Europe and eventually became chief executive of a Belgian pharmaceuticals company, quitting the corporate world when her daughter was born.
In 1994, fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester approached Chapelle for help in building her brand. Since then, the pharmaceutical expert turned her attention to fashion and finance. In under ten years, she turned Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann into substantial global businesses and their parent company, BVBA32, now has an annual turnover of over $35 million. In 2013, Chapelle split the labels into two companies, independent of BVBA32, due to their increasing financial stability, but she maintains a controlling interest in both of them.
As of early 2018, Chapelle was tasked with reviving Paul Poiret, a once-powerful Parisian couture house that was forced to close in 1929 due to competitors like Coco Chanel. Now, the brand is back under a female-led team that includes Chapelle’s management, Yoo-Kyung’s ownership and Beijing-born couturier Yiqing Yin as creative director.
Alongside her business accolades, Chapelle is a board member of the Antwerp Management School, Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds and Global Compact Network Belgium.