Isabelle-Philippe
Glass of Sancerre in hand, relaxing in the Chelsea Harbour Hotel with a colleague, as they often do on a Friday lunchtime when the sun is shining, it is hard to believe that Isabelle Philippe gave birth to a baby girl just two months before this photograph was taken – but this, she says, is the French way.

“Work and personal life balance is essential for me and I am proud to say that it is an integral part of my leadership,” she says. “I think this is also a part of my French culture and the idea of the work-hard-play-hard mindset.”

As well as increasing her brood to two – baby Amélie has a brother Maxime – Isabelle has been busy heralding a whole new range of Guess watches into the UK market, including its groundbreaking smart watch and a revamped gents’ collection. But while product innovation is clearly continuing apace, the main focus for Sequel this year is not what it sells, but who it sells to.

“One of our strongest points of differentiation in the market is our team proximity and customer service with our retailers,” says Philippe. “We have reorganised our company in 2014 to ensure 100% customer focus rather than product category focus. This has allowed us to strengthen our presence with key partners and ensure our strategies are fully executed at the point of sale.”

Sequel has long held a reputation as a great company to deal with, and Philippe says that cultivating happy clients and happy staff is one of the company’s primary objectives. From the serene look on Philippe’s face, we can see that it’s working, either that or it’s the Ashtang yoga, which she claims “is one of the best ways to switch off from the day-to-day challenges and maintain a balanced perspective on life”.

Either way, we’re certainly in awe of this fashion watch doyen.