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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has confirmed it has hired Paul Deneve, the former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent as the company looks to improve on its fashion credentials possibly ahead of the launch of its own smartwatch. 

Deneve - who, incidentally, previously worked at Apple in Europe in the Nineties - will take a vice-president position at the Cupertino-based company, but doesn't become head of retail, a position still open since the head of retail left last year. 

In a stock statement to a number of US newspapers and news agencies, Apple confirmed that Deneve would instead work on "special projects" and report directly into Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. 

What those special projects haven't been detailed, but it has led many to believe that Apple is gearing up to launch a smart watch to compete with the likes of Pebble, Motorola and Sony. 

The market in recent months has really started to gather momentum, along with wearables in general, with many believing it will be the next big product category as people look beyond the smartphone to get their daily information hit or to track their fitness. 

Before YSL, Deneve also worked at Nina Ricci: perhaps it's finally time for an Apple perfume, eau de iPad anyone?

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 3 July 2013.