In light of recent buzz surrounding the Apple Watch and other forms of wearable tech, including the fashion industry's attempts to embrace it in an appealing way, Kering chair Francois-Henri Pinault sat down with the New York Times' Fashion Director and Chief Critic, Vanessa Friedman, during the International Luxury Conference to talk about just that. While Pinault, whose conglomerate owns Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Saint Laurent, etc., says that luxury brands should embrace technology when one of these four factors is present: It strengthens the quality or the sustainability of the materials (Sustainability is, after all, one of Kering's most consistent objectives, especially as of late), offers new areas of expression, improves the quality of production processes or creates new functionalities.
As for the marriage between luxury and technology, Pinault said that fashion must approach it delicately. Just as “luxury cannot be an industry driven by volume," Pinault says "we need to view technology with a critical eye. In luxury we cannot jump on any bus for a concept for the sake of looking modern." While there is not a smart watch in the works just yet, Kering is thinking about working with someone on a device, but is focused on creating something that heightens the exclusivity surrounding its existing watches.