The frontman of the Apple Watch, the first luxury product created by Apple, Paul Deneve, the former chief executive of Saint Laurent, has been heading up Apple’s mysterious "special projects" sector since 2013. With Apple already known for having successfully applied the rules of luxury fashion to their marketing campaigns, Deneve’s unusual placement, at the intersection between fashion and technology, puts him in a good position to advise Apple and help them reach their fashion technology goals.
Deneve left Apple in December 2017. A year earlier, the company confirmed that he was no longer a direct report of Chief Executive Tim Cook, instead reporting to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, but the reasons behind this change were never clarified.
Deneve's exact undertakings at Apple were relatively unknown, though many speculates it was in relation to further development of wearable tech — then in its infancy. His appointment coincided with a series of other fashion hires at Apple, including Angela Ahrendts , former chief executive of Burberry, signalling the company’s start of preparations to tackle this emerging market.
Prior to his return to Apple, Deneve was chief executive at Saint Laurent, responsible for appointing Hedi Slimane as creative director in 2012. His experience in fashion is extensive. In 1997, Deneve joined Courrèges as managing director, going on to take the helm of Nina Ricci from 2003 to 2005. Deneve then became president of Lanvin between 2006 and 2008, where he worked closely with the artistic director Alber Elbaz . A former employee of Apple, Deneve spent seven years as a sales and marketing manager at the tech company from 1990 to 1997.