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Watch out — Apple hires fashion designer CEO for ‘special projects’

Paul Deneve, head of designer Yves Saint Laurent, is joining Apple, fueling speculation that the tech giant is moving into wearable products. Getty Images

NEW YORK – Apple says it has hired Paul Deneve, the CEO of high-end fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent, to work on special projects reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. did not give more details on what Deneve will be doing. The hire comes as Apple faces increased competition from rivals like Google and Samsung, who are developing their own lines of elegant and often less expensive products.

The French luxury name is known for edgy styles — $4,000 strapless body-hugging leather dresses, $1,400 leather jeans and $800 platform shoes. Apple, of course, is known for the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad, which ranges from $499 to $929 for the latest version.

Apple also sells handbags designed for its products, from brands such as Michael Kors and Kate Spade.

Earlier this week, Apple applied for a trademark for the product name iWatch.

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