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Hermes Wanted Helmut Lang to Replace Jean Paul Gaultier

>> Helmut Lang seems pretty set about not coming back to fashion — he recently shredded the remains of his archives for an art exhibition — but that doesn't mean he isn't still being pursued. Apparently, after Jean Paul Gaultier decided to leave Hermes in May 2010, Lang was the firm favorite to replace Gaultier as Hermes creative director, W reports. But: When Hermes courted Lang, he refused — he wanted to continue his newfound career as an artist instead of returning to fashion — and the job instead went to Christophe Lemaire.

While Hermes womenswear contributes less than 10 percent of the brand's annual turnover, it does have a symbolic significance in the media and how the brand is viewed. And speaking of views, another Hermes family member has spoken out about Bernard Arnault and the threat of an LVMH takeover. Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the company's group artistic director, tells W: “Hermes has grown out of a family culture with a set of values that we all believe in. I am convinced it would disappear if the family dimension was taken away or diluted. You know, there have been a lot of very good, small restaurants in Paris that have been bought by big chains over the years, usually in the name of better management. But somehow their clients have stopped going, because they have lost their souls ... This whole situation has been an incentive to work even harder. I have told everybody, ‘Listen, guys — it’s time to be more Hermes than ever.’”

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