Paul Marciano of Guess Featured

Luxos publisher James Hill interviews Guess CEO, Paul Marciano, to find out what luxury means to the founder of a global brand.

Where does the name Guess come from?
It’s hard for people to believe, but the name “Guess” came from a McDonald’s billboard that my brothers and I used to pass by every day on our way to downtown Los Angeles to work.
It was a spontaneous decision, because “Guess” makes you think “Guess what?”. It was catchy, and cannot be mistaken no matter what language you speak.

How would you describe the essence of the Guess look?
Guess is a quintessential Californian company. The essence of the Guess look is Californian chic with a European twist and sophistication. It is a timeless, sexy femininity that will still be classic and trendy for five, 10, 50 years to come.

Where does the inspiration of this look come from?
It comes from the iconic movie stars in the 50s and 60s, such as Brigitte Bardot in “Bonnie & Clyde”, or Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita”. Their style was sexy, simple, and that’s what makes it timeless.

How do Guess’ collections differ between Asia, Europe and America?
That is a very good question. In Europe, we strive to meet the needs of our European customers by providing a sophisticated, detailed and consistent style.
Asia has a similar need in that customers respond to the European influence in the collections.
In America, customers are drawn to novelty so we’re always coming up with new designs and ideas.
Nowadays, people travel a lot. Every two years, they move to a different city and it’s normal. So it’s important for Guess to provide different products in different continents in the world.

Can you tell us about Guess’ development in China?
China is one of our newest markets. In April 2007 we opened our first flagship store in Shanghai, with 12 new stores coming soon. In Beijing, 10 stores will open next year. And one of our newest stores just opened at the Venetian in Macau. In the Chinese market, we’ve had a tremendous response and this is just the beginning.

How does Guess express luxury?

Guess provides affordable luxury through a wide selection of fashionable accessories.
For example, Guess watches are Swiss made. The technology is sophisticated, while the designs are trendy. The price range is 400 to 1500 euro. We started our handbag collections three years ago in Europe. 18- to 30-year-old customers are enthusiastic about our affordable and luxurious handbag collections. The design and materials are fashionable and diverse with animal prints, metallic fabrics, etc.
We also offer a wide selection of shoes ranging from 100 to 350 euro. In Paris, we have opened Guess footwear stores, one right next to Hermès, and the other one right across Colette. In Milan, we just opened in Via Dante. Affordable luxury gives people freedom to change and renew their style.

What does luxury mean to you personally?
Luxury to me is not materialistic anymore. What’s most important to me is to spend time with my family, children and friends. I also like having some time alone. It is very important for me to spend time thinking about the future. This is also an important time when I come up with new ideas and be creative.
For example, I love photography. I love working with new photographers and get inspired by new images.
When you are in an executive position, it is so important to make room and time for creativity. Otherwise, work is just not fun anymore.

For a list of Guess boutiques, click here.

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