Is Apple More Fashion-Conscious Than We Think?

Apple being Apple, it’s determined to hit the runway with wearable devices that will make Google Glass look like those cardboard glasses people used to watch 3D movies in the 50s. Since low power usage is critical to the success of wearable devices, the company’s acquisition of low-power chipmaker Passif Semiconductor is another step down that trail.

iPhone FashionIt makes me wonder: Will we see Apple fashion divas working side-by-side with Apple engineers?

The notion may not be much of a stretch given Cupertino’s recent hire of Paul Deneve, former CEO of high-end fashion house Yves St. Laurent Group, as a Vice President of Special Projects, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

Bloomberg notes that working for a fashion house like Yves St Laurent gives Deneve experience with selling premium products. Women’s shoes there can cost more than $625, and a leather jacket can go for upwards of $5,000.

One thing that’s sure is that Deveve won’t be heading up Apple’s retail operations. And, it’s true that Apple spends a lot of time designing and positioning its high-end Macs as premium devices – the YSL women’s shoes of the desktops, if you will. It could well be that he won’t be spending his time on wearable high-tech fashion. For example, he could well focus on brand-building. But it’s hard to get around the idea that fashion is his sweet spot.

A glance through Apple’s job listings has yet to yield any openings for anything like a fashion designer. But executives like Deneve often build their own teams to spur ideas and execute on them. And the company may be feeling some pressure on the fashion front: A post by Mark Wilson on Co.DESIGN proposes the idea of Google opening the design of Google Glass to every fashion expert around, including the likes of Gucci and Prada.

But that’s just an idea. One thing you can’t get around: When it comes to design, Apple, with its closed system, still has the most elegant devices around.