2010 May 12

Au Revoir, Rougier: Balenciaga Moves PR In-House

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(NEW YORK) Is Pierre Rougier in a mauvaise humeur? Today, Balenciaga's director of communications Lionel Vermeil announced the brand is moving its U.S. PR efforts in-house, after having worked with Rougier's PR Consulting for the last 12 years. A new U.S. director of public relations is expected to be announced next week.

In all likelihood, this move will raise the hopes of American stylists and editors, many of whom have encountered trouble in the quest to borrow samples. Notoriously, PR Consulting has focused its outreach on only a handful of style books, declining to send ready-to-wear to women's service magazines (even those with circulations in the millions) and instead, granting an accessory on a rare occasion. At one point, certain stylists who did get samples were rumored to have earned them on the condition that they would shoot the entire head-to-toe look, rather than mixing and matching with other brands, as is common in editorial shoots. And as for the Balenciaga show? Let's just say that at one point, probably around 2006, most assistants just stopped requesting. Although occasionally, a single ticket was granted at the last minute...

Rougier was instrumental in the relaunch of Balenciaga in the late '90s under designer Nicolas Ghesquière. A public relations master, he managed to created one of the most "branded" labels in PPR's portfolio. Today, Balenciaga boasts enviable performance at retail as well as a brand-new fragrance, Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum, which launched at retail earlier this year.
ASHLEY BAKER



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