Jean-Marc Gaucher, the president and owner of Repetto, has passed away at the age of 70 in Paris, leaving behind a legacy of transformation and innovation in the world of luxury and dance. Gaucher’s journey was one of remarkable entrepreneurship, and his impact on Repetto was profound.
Born in 1953 in Montreuil, France, to working-class parents, Gaucher’s early life was marked by ambition and determination. He left school at the age of 15 and soon found himself immersed in the world of sports, particularly long-distance running. His athletic pursuits caught the attention of Reebok’s owner, who offered him an opportunity to exclusively distribute the brand’s products in France. In 1994, Gaucher assumed the role of CEO of Reebok France and vice president of Reebok International, marking a significant step in his career.
In 1999, an opportunity arose that would change the course of Gaucher’s life. He acquired Repetto, a struggling dance shoe brand based in the Dordogne region. Despite its financial woes, Gaucher saw the potential to elevate Repetto into a global luxury and dance brand, renowned for its iconic ballerina pumps. Under his visionary leadership, Repetto achieved international acclaim and was honored with the prestigious «Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant» label in 2013, celebrating its contribution to French craftsmanship.
Gaucher’s commitment to making Repetto an aspirational brand led to collaborations with renowned figures in the fashion world, including Issey Miyake in 2000, Yohji Yamamoto in 2002, Comme des Garçons in 2004, and Karl Lagerfeld in 2009. He expanded Repetto’s offerings to include leather goods and textile lines, further solidifying its position in the luxury market.
In 2007, Gaucher established the Dance for Life Foundation on the occasion of Repetto’s 60th anniversary. This international initiative aimed to support dance schools and empower children in need through artistic expression, reflecting Gaucher’s passion for dance and philanthropy.
In 2012, he inaugurated the Repetto leather training school near his factory in Saint-Médard-d’Excideuil, in the Dordogne. Here, the renowned «sew-and-turn» technique, a hallmark of Repetto’s dance shoes, was taught to over 600 apprentices, preserving the artistry of French leather craftsmanship.
Over the years, Gaucher involved his daughter, Charlotte Gaucher-Holmann, in the business, grooming her to carry forward his legacy. In early 2022, he appointed Laurence Lévy as managing director, with Charlotte as deputy managing director. Today, Charlotte Gaucher-Holmann assumes the role of President of Repetto, inheriting her father’s vision and dedication.
Jean-Marc Gaucher’s passing marks the end of an era, but his impact on Repetto and the world of luxury and dance will be felt for generations to come. His remarkable journey from a self-made entrepreneur to a global visionary has left an indelible mark on the industry.